Farming is not a joke

sam-coggins-3

Sam Coggins 

Young Farming Champion Sam Coggins was sponsored to attend the Chicago Council Food Security Symposium in Washington DC in March as part of the ‘Next Generation Delegation’.

Following his participation Sam was invited to write a guest blog for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs website

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is pleased to present the 2017 Next Generation Delegates blog series. This year’s Delegation was comprised of 20 outstanding students from universities across the United States and around the world studying agriculture, food, and related disciplines. We were thrilled to feature these emerging leaders at the Global Food Security Symposium 2017, and look forward to sharing the exciting work of this extraordinary group.

This is what Sam had to say

The two words required to sell careers in agriculture to young people 

Agriculture’s image problem
My mate Michael couldn’t stop laughing. I had just told him that I was going to Sydney University to study agricultural science. “What are you going to do? Build scarecrows?”

The stigma surrounding careers in agriculture spreads beyond the suburbs of Australia. I met fellow agriculture students Adrian Bantgeui (Philippines), Toluwase Olukayode (Nigeria) and Cassandra Proctor (USA) at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines. Despite different backgrounds, we all shared similar stories:

  • Adrian shared that Filipino students are belittled for studying “agriculture lamang” (Tagalog for ‘only agriculture’).
  • Cassandra lamented that American youths ask “ew, why study plants? That’s so boring”.
  • Toluwase described how Nigerian agriculture is perceived to be an “industry for poor people”.

adrian

Adrian shared that Filipino students are belittled for studying “agriculture lamang” (Tagalog for ‘only agriculture’).

It seems that careers in agriculture are universally mistaken for not being sophisticated, interesting or lucrative. This is hard to believe considering avoiding a global food shortage is one of our generation’s great challenges. A panel was assembled at the Chicago Council Food Security Symposium in Washington DC to discuss how we can “dial in a new way of thinking about agriculture as a career of first choice”.
How not to sell careers in agriculture

The instinctive strategy for selling careers in agriculture is to talk about our unique interests in it. Too many times I’ve tried to share my love for soil using passion, humour and enthusiasm. You’d be surprised how good my joke about soil health is! Even so, my efforts are generally met with the response, “that’s nice but agriculture is not for me”.

There is more to agriculture than soil. Agriculture is about land rights, social science, animal husbandry, education, trade policy, plant pathology, anthropology, drone technology… the list continues.

In view of this, agriculture can be for everyone! The challenge is not to force our agricultural passions onto young people but to make agriculture accessible to their passions. How do we do this? From my perspective, careers in agriculture are characterized by two words that resonate with my generation:

cassie

Cassandra lamented that American youths ask “ew, why study plants? That’s so boring”.

Word 1: Meaning

Agriculture is about putting food on people’s plates and clothes on people’s backs. Sustainably growing more nutritious food with less resources enables farmers to support their families, protect the environment and nourish their communities.

Agriculture is a powerful tool for contributing to things that matter: poverty alleviation, environmental conservation and food security. What career choice could be more meaningful than that?

Word 2: Excitement

An education in agriculture not only empowers you to improve the world, it lets you truly see the world. Since commencing my undergraduate degree in 2014, I have worked on a salmon farm in Tasmania, researched soil microbiology in Canberra, interned at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines, joined an anti-food wastage society in central Sydney, attended a food security conference in Washington DC and attempted in vain to plough a rice field with buffalo while studying in the mountains of Sri Lanka. The wide-ranging opportunities in agriculture are not limited to building scarecrows, which would also be fun.

tolu

Toluwase described how Nigerian agriculture is perceived to be an “industry for poor people”.

How to sell careers in agriculture to young people

Escaping normality and doing something meaningful appeals to my generation. I do not subscribe to the belief that today’s young people are self-obsessed. Young people that I know want more from their career than a comfortable lifestyle and a stable salary. They want to travel the world and they want to make it better. A career in agriculture is a grounded mechanism for doing exactly that.

The photos in this blog show Adrian, Cassandra and Toluwase wearing a t-shirt bearing the words: “magatnim ay di biro” (Tagalog for ‘farming is not a joke’).

I believe that young people will own this message if we sell careers in agriculture as careers of excitement and meaning. 

 

Yes Sam, if we want to attract the best and the brightest minds we must give them a reason to choose agriculture over everything else. It is these people who will be the changemakers that will deliver the vibrant, profitable and dynamic future of agriculture that it deserves to have. Read our founder Lynne Strong’s blog post for The Australian Farmer on the Image of Agriculture here 

Read previous blogs by the 2017 Next Generation Delegates:

Technology for Youth Engagement in the New Age of Agriculture

How Public and Private Partnerships Can Achieve a More Food-Secure World

Why a Practical Consensus on Animal Welfare Is Essential to Combating Climate Change

Working Together in Times of Food Insecurity

To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate: The Dilemma for Chicken Farmers in Tanzania

Unifying the Next Generation through Open Data

Food Security: Agriculture, Society, and Ecology

Canada’s Challenge: Ending Chronic Food Insecurity in the Far North

Nutrition Security in the 21st Century

 

Milk Road to China is the big winner in 2014 Archibull Prize

One very tried Archibull Prize events team is sending a big shout out to Katie McRobert Editor of Farmonlne this morning for helping us meet our commitment to share the news from the 2014 Archibull Prize Awards with the world as soon as possible

Katie has done some a great job showcasing the event in the media and I have cheekily ‘appropriated’ ( love that word) her story for The Land found here

Bull, baas take out Art4Ag prizes

14 Nov, 2014 04:55 PM

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Increase Text SizeThe crew from Hurlstone Agricultural College - Jahanui Khatkar, James Blight, Darrelyn Nguyen and Jessica Chau - with their winning entry,

It is an inspiring event to be able to support and promote’ Hon Katrina Hodgkinson . The crew from Hurlstone Agricultural College – Jahanui Khatkar, James Blight, Darrelyn Nguyen and Jessica Chau – with their winning entry, “Ni Cow”.

WINNERS of the 4th annual Archibull Prize were announced in Sydney today at the national awards ceremony for the world famous agriculture themed art and multimedia competition.

School students, teachers and representatives from government, industry and the corporate sector gathered at the Sydney Showgrounds to view the original Archibull artworks.

Students from 40 participating schools from across Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria were invited to decorate life-size, fibreglass cows to showcase the grain, cattle and sheep, wool, cotton or dairy industries. Organiser Lynne Strong called the works “extraordinary and inspired – a feast of colour and creativity”.

Hurlstone Agricultural High School, NSW, was the overall winner with its dairy industry-inspired artwork ‘Ni Cow’. Their entry celebrated the newly-forged connections between the Australian and Chinese dairy industries, and featured a path of powdered milk under the exquisitely painted cow.

Three-year-old Byron Redmond came all the way from Wollongong to see the entries his mum, a teacher, had a hand in creating. Click to see more photos in our online gallery.

NSW Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson said the Archibull Prize education initiative has a unique role to play in providing a hands-on learning opportunity for school communities.

“This initiative is a fantastic way to encourage school students, particularly in metropolitan areas, to gain a better understanding of agriculture and where their food and fibre products actually come from,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

“I have been extremely impressed with this year’s entries and congratulate all the winning schools, their students and teachers, for their creativity and commitment to their involvement in this program.

“It is an inspiring event to be able to support and promote.”

Bradley Finn, Tia Duckett, Ashlee Peirson and Kayla Pike from Northlakes High School on the Central Coast. Click to see more photos in our online gallery.

Detail from the winning entry ‘Ni Cow’ from Hurlstone Agricultural College – a tribute to new dairy connections between NSW and China. Click to see more photos in our online gallery.


NATIONAL WINNERS

ARCHIBULL PRIZE GRAND CHAMPION

1st Place: Awarded to Hurlstone Agricultural High School, Glenfield, NSW with 96 points out of 100 across all components (blog and artwork), with its dairy industry-inspired artwork ‘Ni Cow’.

A visually-balanced, unique and complex work of art, Ni Cow is conceptually timely and relevant, symbolising the NSW dairy industry’s recent development of groundbreaking technology to supply fresh milk to China. The sculpture examines the rich culture of China and the valuable partnerships being forged between Australian dairy farmers and the Chinese people.

This year is Hurlstone Agricultural High School’s third year in the competition and their second Grand Champion win. Teacher Jo Ross says after studying the Australian dairy industry and sustainability, the student team explored economic sustainability and the expansion of the dairy export market.

“The students worked in a united team, collaborating to find direction and solve problems … developing autonomy and an authentic ownership of their work. They are now empowered, positive, proud and have an amazing sense of achievement,” Ms Ross says.

“Hurlstone students thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of producing a creative, meaningful and beautiful response to their world.”

Runner up: Kildare Catholic College, Wagga Wagga, NSW, (on 95 points) with its sheep and cattle themed Archibull ‘Kasey’. This boldly coloured cow is a wonderful mesh of community, agriculture, the arts, Wagga Wagga’s renowned sporting heritage and a good old backyard BBQ. On one side Kasey is divided into cuts of meat overlaid with facts celebrating Australian cattle and sheep farmers and sustainability, while the other side showcases their passionate community spirit.

3rd Place: On equal 94 points – Northlakes High School, St Remo, NSW; Matraville Sports High School, Matraville, NSW, and Hamilton North Public School, Broadmeadow, NSW.

Emma Levi, Ziggy Williams, Kit Rodrigueza and Braeden Stewart from Matraville Sports High with their entry “Mattooo”. Click to see more photos in our online gallery.

REGIONAL WINNERS

REGION 1

Champion Archibull Prize Award Winner:

All Souls St Gabriels School – Charters Towers, Qld

Champion Archibull Prize Award Runner Up:

St George State High School – St George, Qld

Winner of Best Blog:

All Souls St Gabriels School – Charters Towers, Qld

Winner of Best Multimedia Animation:

Goondiwindi State High School – Goondiwindi, Qld

Winner of Best Cow Artwork:

Goondiwindi State High School – Goondiwindi, Qld

REGION 2

Champion Archibull Prize Award Winner:

Hurlstone Agricultural High School – Glenfield, NSW

Champion Archibull Prize Award Runner Up:

Three-way tie

Matraville Sports High School – Matraville, NSW

Northlakes High School – St Remo, NSW

Hamilton North Public School – Broadmeadow, NSW

Winner of Best Blog:

Matraville Sports High School – Matraville, NSW

Hamilton North Public School – Broadmeadow, NSW

Winner of Best Multimedia Animation:

Hamilton North Public School – Broadmeadow, NSW

Winner of Best Cow Artwork:

Hurlstone Agricultural High School – Glenfield, NSW

REGION 3

Champion Archibull Prize Award Winner:

Kildare Catholic College – Wagga Wagga, NSW

Champion Archibull Prize Award Runner Up:

Kilbreda College Mentone, Vic

Winner of Best Blog:

Kilbreda College Mentone, Vic

Winner of Best Multimedia Animation:

Kildare Catholic College – Wagga Wagga, NSW

Winner of Best Cow Artwork:

Kildare Catholic College – Wagga Wagga, NSW

ARCHIBULL PRIZE PRIMARY SCHOOL

Reserve Champion Archibull Primary School:

Tie – Bolwarra Public School, Bolwarra, NSW, and Gwynneville Public School, Gwynneville, NSW

Champion Archibull Primary School:

Hamilton North Public School, Broadmeadow, NSW

ARCHIBULL PRIZE POULTRY PIONEER AWARD

Wiripaang Public School, Gateshead, NSW

NATIONAL TREASURES AWARD

Emerson School, Dandenong North, Vic

Week One Day Three Sees the Art judge travel to the Burdekin

Day 3 of Week One of the 2014 Archibull Prize official judging tour saw art judge Wendy Taylor fly to Townsville and cross the crocodile infested Burdekin Rive to visit Charters Towers and judge the cotton themed masterpieces created by All Souls St Gabriels and Cloncurry State School

Check out the students artworks and see what Wendy has to say

All Souls St Gabriels Charters Towers 

“Cotton Eyed Josie” is all bull.

A mechanabull, a technologibull, a sustainabull and a recyclabull. This is a cow that has taken to the air, to tell a story of cotton. The unique story is told through stylised patterns and vibrant colour, all anchored in the cotton industry. Her aerial viewpoint intrigues, while at the same time she is anchored to the earth and the industry which inspired her.

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The students at All Souls would also like to share with you some of their special highlights from their journey

Women of the World – QRRRWN – Jane Milburn

Students involved: senior female students

 Martin’s Documentary 

Students involved: 9/10 Arts (Music and Media)

Cotton By the Numbers

Students involved: 10 advanced Maths

Me, Myself and Cotton

Students involved: Chloe Campbell

Reporting on sustainability of irrigation and genetics of cotton

Students involved: 11 AgHort

Sustainability

Students involved: 8 Health

Power Point Presentations – Growth Cycle and Genetics

Students involved: 10 Science

Cloncurry State School is a further seven hours drive down the road from Charters Towers and we send them our heart felt appreciation for bringing their cow to All Souls where it is proudly on display in the front foyer of the school

Cloncurry State School

“ISAbella” quite literally tells the viewer a story.

The story of cotton is shouted through facts about the industry drawn on denim patches and through the gorgeous myth about the farmer and the nymph. A picture is clearly painted through text, to showcase the industry and to highlight its sustainability features.

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Archibull Prize Judging Tour goes to the Atherton Tablelands

The Archibull Prize judging tour Week 1 Day 2 saw our well-travelled judge Wendy Taylor fly from Sydney to Cairns and drive to the Tablelands Regional Gallery to see the masterpieces created by the four schools participating in far north Queensland

This is what Wendy had to say about the bovine artworks produced by the four schools in the region

Atherton State High School

“Cornealus”, not surprisingly, is all about Corn.

A grain industry story is told, while nestling beneath the recognisable skyline of the Atherton Tablelands. The striking contrast of the black and white Holstein base being overtaken by twining corn stalks grabs attention. Their love of their local community is obvious, as is their connection to the maize industry.

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You can hear the song they wrote for the competition here

You can read their blog here

Mareeba State High School

“Savannah” definitely hails from the remote gulf areas of Australia. Her flat desert browns are beautifully balanced by the soft hints of colour on her landscape. She depicts the beef industry from dawn to dusk, showcasing the people involved in it, as well as the animals. The fascinating techniques used create a subtle and beautiful effect, which perfectly complements the colour palette.

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You can read their blog here

Malanda State High School

This beef “Patty” has definitely gone green.

Sustainability in the beef industry is the theme for Patty and it shows. She has pasture grasses growing out of her back, and trees growing from her horns. She is textural and informative. Not many beef Patties make you want to touch them, but this beef Patty definitely does.

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See the students Archibull journey here

Ravenshoe State School

This is one “A-maizing” Cow.

The ‘yellow brick road’ made from corn, is the hero. The time and care taken for this one element are astonishing. It weaves around her, taking the viewer on a journey through the Grains industry from the paddock to the pub (and the bake’rye’ and ‘corn’er shop). In this case, all roads don’t lead to Rome; they either lead to or from the silo.

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Remembering what we’ve got before it becomes what we had

Last year Art4Agriculture through funding from Caring for our Country was able to train Young Eco Champions to go into schools with our Young Farming Champions as part of the Archibull Prize. The objective of the Young Eco Champions program at a grass roots level is to raise

  • awareness of, and a passion for landcare principles in young farmers
  • awareness and understanding amongst young landcarers of the challenges and constraints of modern sustainable agricultural systems

The program was a huge success both in building relationships between young people working in natural resource management and young farmers and leaving a lasting impact on the students they both visited in terms of raising awareness and showcasing the wonderful partnerships that have being built over the last 25 years between farmers and landcarers to nurture our natural environment.

Whilst the current federal government has chosen not to continue with Caring for our Country funding  I know our Young Eco Champions are committed to ensuring the program has a lasting legacy and what better example than this initiative conceived by Young Eco Champion Megan Rowlatt that saw Megan take a team of young city people to visit and work on the family farm of  2014 Wool Young Farming Champion Tom Tourle

The story ……..

Young environmentalists have been smashing agricultural stereotypes through a recent partnership between two New South Wales Landcare groups, 600 kilometres apart.

Six Illawarra Youth Landcare volunteers travelled to Dubbo last month, through connections with the Little River Landcare group, to work on the Tourle family’s sixth generation 4450 hectare sheep property ‘Oxley Downs’.

The volunteers, from areas around Wollongong, Sydney and the US, came from backgrounds including university students and workers in mining, conservation, and education sectors, and say they all took away something special from the experience.

IYL Volunteers sit on the verandah of an old log cabin on the property

Megan and her team on the veranda of one of the historic log cabins on the property

Illawarra Youth Landcare group coordinator Megan Rowlatt, who has been working and volunteering in Landcare for more than six years, says the volunteers had their own preconceived ideas of what the farm experience would be like, “but what we actually got to experience was so much more.”

“The Tourle family openly welcomed us onto their property, they shared their vision for the farm and the environment, their challenges, their trials and errors, and their home,” Megan says.

Jenna, a volunteer from Wollongong, says, “The Tourles created a beautiful, positive image of how people are changing their land management and farming techniques to be as positive and environmentally friendly as possible.”

Volunteers with Scott Tourle hearing about cell grazing

Scott Tourle sharing the finer points of cell grazing with the Illawarra Youth Landcare Group

Self-described city-slicker Dustin from California, USA, says, “It was a pleasure to learn how the Tourles have immense respect for the land they have been working for generations, and I was impressed by their knowledge of the finest details regarding the land.”

Chris, from Wollongong, says, “The entire weekend was far beyond what I could have expected, from the knowledge shared, the interest in our own experience, the hospitality and genuine wanting to have us to understand and share their vision for the future has given an extremely positive outlook for the future of agriculture.”

Sydney girl Nicole says, “We also learnt a lot about land management and how challenging it can be. I have developed a great respect for farmers and the hard work that is put in, day in and day out.”

Emily, from Wollongong, says, “I was relieved to discover there are farmers out there who understand the value of ecosystem management and protection and who are actively working towards the betterment of the environment.”

IYL volunteers fencing

Young city people learn how to fence

Megan says she organised the trip because people from cities and urban areas are becoming increasingly disconnected from the environment and rural Australia.

“Thankyou to Little River Landcare and Scott, Liz and Sam for opening their home and providing such a welcoming environment so we could break down the barriers, debunk the stereotypes, and have these conversations.”

Illawarra Youth Landcare is a network of young volunteers who carry out a variety of activities in the Illawarra, NSW and beyond. The group’s aim is to introduce young people to the diversity of environmental management issues faced in Australia.

Archibull wins the Event of the Year at Trangie Australia Day Awards!!

What a 48 hours the Archibull Prize has had

It started with an overwhelming response from primary schools to the call out for Expressions of Interest for the 2014 Archibull Prize in the Junior Landcare Newsletter

I am beginning to think school teachers work dairy farmers hours The emails started at 4 in the morning and continued till 11pm last night and started again at 5.30am this morning. How exciting to see schools so eager to be involved 

Then this – does it get any better than this –  The Archibull Prize has won the Event of the Year at Trangie Australia Day Awards!!

“The success of the project has been an enormous promotion of Trangie across the whole of Australia. It has absolutely put Trangie on the map!”

Archibull wins Event of the Year

Excerpt from the Narromine News

But wait there is more the Junior Citizen of the Year was Pat Skinner

Pat is a dedicated and enthusiastic participant in a wide range of activities. He is a fantastic team player and contributes 110 per cent in everything
with unfailing humour – Archibull Prize video, dancing schools
spectacular,  movie nights,
school band, discos for out of home care kids, and
is now a keen sailor.

Trangie Central School John Bull (27)

Patrick Skinner

Over the last 10 years Art4Agriculture has put me in the spotlight and I have been lucky enough to pick up some wonderful awards like the Bob Hawke Medal in 2012 which have provided a vehicle to open the door and spread the word about the great stories of our Australian farmers and their produce right to office of the Prime Minister and thanks to AWI and their Young Farming Champions – Prince Charles but I don’t think anything has given me more of a buzz than this

See and celebrated the 2013 Winners including this phenomenal effort from Trangie Central School here

Judges visit the home of the Koalas

Day Ten of the Epic Archibull Judging Tour of 2013  and the last day! One last school to see before we can sleep for quite a while! We are back in country New South Wales and it is dry and HOT!

School Thirty Seven was Gunnedah High School

On a last rip to Gunnedah we met the dynamo that is Kate Mathieson who is very very committed to providing great agriculture experiences for her students and with the support of Cotton Australia was able to bring  the Archibull back to Gunnedah High School

Gunnedah High School Kapas (12)

This year the students have named their Archibull “Kapas”!  (Name derived from name of the unginned cotton or the white fibrous substance covering the seed that is obtained from the cotton plant.)

On one side of Kapas we see cotton before the harvest. In a clever collage made from cotton and about cotton, we see a pictorial timeline of the cotton plant’s growth. Underlying these images is the water, which is so essential to the industry. We also see the environmental factors which affect cotton growth, as well as what can be made from 1 bale of cotton.

Gunnedah High School Kapas (3)

On the other side, we see cotton after the harvest. We see its export to the world, its production, and the variety of ways that even the by-products of cotton can be used so that nothing is wasted.

Gunnedah High School Kapas (1)

On her neck and chest are multicoloured handprints of students from the school from years 6 to 12, parents and members of the community. These are present to show the importance of community to the cotton farming industry. On her rump and underneath is a collaged patchwork of unusual cotton fabrics which also represents the community which they live in. It is a patchwork of towns and paddocks. This is further reinforced by the logos of local cotton companies and producers on her udder, as well as the schools emblem and that of Cotton Australia.

 

Gunnedah High School Kapas (11)

A very big thankyou to all schools!

Thankyou for your beautiful work, for your enthusiasm, and for all the work you have put in. It is appreciated and truly wonderful. We hope you have enjoyed the programme and learnt something.

You can see all the finalists here