Young Farming Champion Liz Lobsey is a finalist in the prestigious ADAMA Chris Lehmann Trust Young Cotton Achiever of the Year 

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Plant doctors, agros, clod kickers – all nicknames given to those agri-professionals who spend a lot of time in their utes, poke a varied array of instruments into the soil and tell the farmer what to do with his crop. This may be the common perception of agronomists but Young Farming Champion Liz Lobsey is part of the new generation of Plant Doctors showing there is more to agronomy – and agriculture – than first meets the eye.
Liz’s contribution to the cotton industry has been acknowledged through her selection as a finalist in the ADAMA Chris Lehmann Trust Young Cotton Achiever of the Year

“It’s an absolute honour to be nominated for this award let alone be named a finalist so I can honestly say I am extremely humbled to be named a finalist. To be acknowledged by your peers is something that I can’t put words to but I truly appreciate it”

“If I didn’t have the support of my partner my family, my boss and the growers I work for I wouldn’t have taken part in all that I have. I have participated because I love the industry and I wanted to broaden my knowledge of what affects my growers and give something back.” said Liz

The Australian Cotton Industry Awards program now moves into the judging phase, with the panel of judges travelling to the finalists’ originating regions to meet and assess each of the candidates.

Cash prizes are on offer for the winners across all categories, with an additional research bursary for Researcher of the Year.

The Australian Cotton Industry Awards evening will be held in Griffith on July 26th as part of the biennial Australian Cotton Collective. Get the whole story on what makes Liz stand out from the crowd here  

#youthinag #welovecotton #YFC

The Archibull Prize in Canada

 

Archie Goes to Canada 

Already well regarded within Australian schools as an innovative and thought-provoking way of connecting students and farmers, Art4Agriculture’s, The Archibull Prize will now have international exposure at the 9th World Environmental Education Congress (WEEC) in Vancouver, Canada to be held in September.

WEEC promotes education for environment and sustainable development and attracts teachers, researchers, government agencies, NGOs and private companies from across the globe. Previous congresses have been held in Sweden, Morocco and Brisbane with attendance rates in excess of 2000 people from 105 nations.

The 2017 congress is titled ‘Culturenvironment: Weaving New Connections’ and will address themes such as the use of art in environmental education, social responsibility and environmental communication. Larraine Larri from Art4Agriculture will present ‘The Power of the Cow’ outlining how The Archibull Prize has used art, in particular the painting of a life-sized fibreglass cow, and multi-media in primary and secondary schools to provide a connection to agriculture, biosecurity and climate change.

“This is very exciting news,” Ms Larri said. “The World Environmental Education Congress (WEEC) is the penultimate international gathering for environmental and sustainable development educators. Policy makers, academics, researchers, community and school-based educators come together every two years for international agenda setting and collaboration. Being able to showcase The Archibull Prize on the world stage gives it international credibility and is an important opportunity to benchmark our Australian innovation with other art and/or agriculture programs.”

Thirty schools across NSW, QLD and the ACT have been selected to participate in the 2017 Archibull Prize and will explore the theme why Feeding, Clothing and Powering a Hungry Nation is a shared Responsibility’. Students and teachers will be assisted in their journey by agricultural professionals in the form of Young Farming Champions.

2017 will be the seventh instalment of The Archibull Prize, which is proud to have supporting partners in NSW Department of Primary Industries, Cotton Australia, Aussie Farmers Foundation, Australian Wool Innovation, Cotton Research and Development Corporation, Local Land Services and RAS of NSW.

_ 2017 Picture You in Agriculture Supporting Partners

Meet the Farmer and go Glamping – an exciting new way to bring country and city together at the Sydney Royal Easter Show

Meet Tim Eyes the young farmer who will join a total of three hundred and thirty five (over the 14 nights of the show ) very lucky Australians to go glamping at the Sydney Royal Easter Show this year.

The wider community has had plenty of exposure to Tim via their TV screens and Youtube in the last two years including this feature of Tim and fellow Young Farming Champion Anika Molesworth on SBS The Feed

Glamping tent

Not sure if the tents are going to be this luxurious 

Tim loves people and people love Tim ( for all the right reasons).  The last 12 months have been a highlight for the Art4Ag team working with our superstar journalist Mandy McKeesick writing a series a case studies, identifying what makes each of our Young Farming Champions like Tim unique.

Tim was over the moon when he got the call from the RAS of NSW inviting him to be the farmer the glamping participants get to share the campfire experience with over the 14 days of the show. He so looking forward to inspiring the lucky glampers to be as excited about the agriculture sector as he is.

The Sydney Royal Easter Show Glamping Expereince

This exclusive opportunity to sleep-over at the Show is being offered for the first time in 2017.

The lucky participants will meet and share a campfire meal with Tim. They will meet thousands of farm animals, see the world-famous District Exhibit fruit and vegetable displays, taste award-winning food and wine, watch world-class entertainment, experience exhilarating carnival rides and catch an evening show which features a nightly firework spectacular.

At night, they will sleep over in one of the Show’s fully-catered luxury tents, which comfortably sleep four people. Wake up in the morning to the sounds of farmyard life and help hand-feed breakfast to the  animals, before heading off to enjoy all the other attractions of the Show.

Just a handful of glamping tents will be erected at the event, for this special behind-the-scenes opportunity available to a few lucky campers each evening of the Show

The glampers will have

  • Access to a luxury 5m x 5m Glamping tent for 4 people, including 1 x queen-size bed and 2 x single beds, with pillows and linen.
  • Towels and face washers are provided, along with soap, shampoo, conditioner and moisturiser.
  • Access to shared toilet and shower unit, dedicated to the 6 tents located at the campsite.
  • Overnight Tour Host Tim Eyes will be on site to host you from 9pm to 8.30am.
  • Breakfast includes bacon and eggs, fresh fruit, muesli, tea, coffee and orange juice.

 

With any luck Tim’s fellow Young Farming Champion Dwayne Schubert, also a treat in the charm and larrikin department might just pop in one night and join his good mate for a chinwag with the glampers over a cup of tea and damper.

PS I heard a rumour the RAS of NSW may just be offering two more places. If you would like to join Tim on one night of the show keep your eyes peels on their Facebook page 

Meet Deanna Johnston the rookie wool producer

If daycare consists of riding shotgun with Dad in the tractor when sowing and harvesting; sleeping in the tender wool bin during shearing time then this has been the best start to my rural career. Hi I’m Deanna Johnston and I’m a rookie farmer.

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I had already started shearing, doing the long-blow on our Coolalee rams before I was going to primary school. My Dad worked as a shearing contractor before settling back down to the farm. Dad had always had an interest in sheep, especially Merinos and he began to get more serious about the sheep enterprise on the farm in the year 2000. We turned to the SRS strain of Merinos and started breeding dual purpose merinos. After the recent big wet we currently have 2000 breeding ewes with 500 with lambs at foot.

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The next step to continue my agriculture career pathway was Yanco Agricultural High School. Right from year seven I was part of the sheep showstock team which led to an introduction to the McCaughey White Suffolk stud where we started to implement Artificial Insemination and Embryo Transfer into the breeding program.

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I completed my Certificate IV in Woolclassing and Certificate II in Shearing by the age of 16 Since then, shearing competitions and wool handling competitions have become my weekend hobby. In March this year I came out in fourth position in the State Final Fleece judging competition in Sydney.

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More recently I competed at Culcairn Shearing and Woolhandling competition where I was awarded the Phillip Memorial Trophy in recognition of my shearing expertise.

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These competitions  help refine skills and emphasise the importance of the smaller details taught in the TAFE Certificates. You also meet other young people who share your passion for the wool and sheep industry.

In 2014 I was runner up in the National Young Guns competition at LambEX in Adelaide which was attended by over 1000 people. This competition consisted of writing an essay on the topic: “attracting young people into the prime lamb industry “and creating a poster to go with it as well as giving a speech on the topic.  The competition is judged on the essay, poster, speech and the answers to the questions posed by the judges. This was an incredible experience for me. I met many industry leaders, producers, overseas producers and professors who had the same passion: the future of agriculture not only in Australia but in the world.

2016 was also an exciting year for me. My school team won the Champion Secondary School at the 2016 Australian Wool Innovation National Merino Challenge in Sydney and I was  third overall in the Secondary school division.

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The competition attracted over 140 participants from WA, SA, VIC and NSW. Students competed in six activities relevant to Merino Sheep production, including visual scoring of sheep, condition scoring, use of Australian Sheep Breeding Values in ram and ewe selection, wool typing and valuing and feed budgeting. We also attended the Industry Dinner, where we networked with Wool Industry Professionals, university students and other secondary students.

Australian Wool Innovation manager of woolgrower extension and adoption Emily King said the NMC had grown rapidly since its inception because it met the demands of a new generation.

“There is a strong wave of young people coming through who are increasingly enthusiastic about the wool industry. These are the young minds that will take the industry forward with new ideas and new leadership. It’s exciting to see and great to be involved.”

With the end of my HSC year nearing I have been fortunate enough to have to have met some amazing industry professionals including Dr. Jim Watt, Errol Brumpton (OAM) and Charlie Massey (PhD). When I finish school my ambitions is to have a gap year and work in shearing sheds or on a Merino sheep property and then study a double degree in Agriculture and Business at the University of New England in Armidale with a long term view to come back on the farm and take over our sheep enterprise (I haven’t told Dad yet I might tell him about this a bit later).

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Daycare gave me a great passion for the wool industry and a dream to be part of it. I am a dedicated to promoting the sheep and wool industry in the community and as an exciting career. Young people are the future of a successful wool industry through the whole chain from the sheep’s back to yours. The future is exciting and I am lucky I will be a part of it along with many other young and enthusiastic people.

Emma and Cosi team up to have fun with grains

Today’s guest blog comes from  Young Farming Champion Emma Ayliffe who travelled to South Australia to join the AgCommunicators team and Cosi on the Seed to Store promotional tour to South Australian schools

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Emma (centre front) had a great time as you can see …… 

On Monday and Tuesday this week I was lucky enough to be part of the GRDC and AgCommunicators Seed to Store Tour around SA.

Seed to Store is a video competition that is run by the GRDC where entrants are asked to make a simple 1 minute video that showcases the grains industry and tells the story of the seed getting from the paddock to the store. As part of the process the GRDC asks a specialist group of people to promote the event, the grains industry and the great opportunities the industry provides as well as create a buzz around the competition. The winners of each category are shown at the Royal Adelaide Show and win themselves a cheeky $1000!

My 1,863km journey began in Hay where I live. On my 7 hour drive to Adelaide I had time to ponder on the week ahead. Would the kids be excited? Would we be able to deliver some good messages? Would I forget what I was meant to say in my talk? How much are these kids even going to care about grains? Would the schools truly be happy to have us there?

Monday morning the lovely Sarah McDonnell picked me up and we began our way to our first school, St Francis De Sales in Mt Barker. We met the third member of our team there, the iconic Andrew “Cosi” Costello who presents a show called “South Aussie with Cosi” on Channel 9. This school was amazing; we were greeted by a sea of some 120 year 6 and 7’s who were all eager to hear about grains, show off their new horticulture building but most of all excited to meet Cosi!

Fun Fact

Did you know that there are 50,000 edible plants in the world that we know of, yet 60% of our diets are made up of wheat, rice and corn?

 

1_ Sarah McDonnell

The lovely Sarah telling the students about the Seed to Store Competition

We spent about an hour at each of the schools talking about grains and our involvement in the different areas of Agriculture. Cosi had studied as Roseworthy, like myself, but had worked in the livestock industry. He now runs a charity in Cambodia called Cows for Cambodia that is focused on helping to break the poverty cycle as well as teaching Cambodians about farming practises. Sarah was a food scientist before moving into education, focused on primarily Agriculture and I am an agronomist, so it was my job to explain a bit about what goes into growing grains. Other than having to endure us talking we also played a few games such as can you guess the grain and can you match the grain to the food it becomes? Did you know that Barley is in Mars Bars?

Fun Fact

The Roman goddess, Ceres, who was deemed protector of the grain, gave grains their common name today – “cereal.”

 

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Me Presenting 

From here we headed to Unity Collage in Murray Bridge in the Cosi Car. Once again the excitement of having Cosi visit the school became apparent quickly. It was also here that I learnt that Cosi was quite hilarious as he retold of his stories of struggles at high school with having a police officer as a father. After a quick lesson on “how not to pick up chicks” we chatted about grains, careers and tested everyone’s knowledge.

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Helping the Girls team win at guessing which grains become which foods at Unity

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Checking out the Rhino that Cosi Bought Tailem Bend

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The Cosi Car…it was hard to miss and attracted a lot of attention

The final school for day one was Keith Area School, and after a bit of a delay we got there about 45 minutes before the end of day bell. I thought this could be interesting, right before home time all these guys are going to want to do is get out of here but they were great fun! They were very interactive and attentive and an absolute laugh. Cosi was grilled about what they needed to do to win the big bucks with their videos.

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As he is one of the judges its smart for entrants to know Cosi’s Pearl Barley’s of Wisdom 

After staying the night in Keith we headed to the Area School at Coomandook. We had nearly half the school come to listen, and what a way to start the day. Everyone was highly entertained by Sarah story about “sensory analysis”, or taste testing to you and me, and how her love of Arnott’s chocolate biscuits had driven her to date a guy who worked there! The questions were fired thick and fast at the end of the session about grains as well as careers.

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Selfie with the year 7-11’s from Coomandook

From here we headed to Birdwood High School in the Adelaide Hills. It was quite a long drive and Cosi couldn’t resist a snack on the way…and what is better than one that he promotes!

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Coz it’s a Bargin!

The final school of the day was Birdwood High where we managed to get a whole range of students from year 8 to year 12. We got to the school right before the end of lunch bell. Our first port of call was the Ag Block where we got to cuddle some orphaned lambs.  Once in the hall with everyone they were really involved which was awesome, and as a special treat I got to see my cousin who goes to school there.

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Playing guess which grain is which food at Birdwood High School

We all said our goodbyes and I was on my way home again. On my 7 hour drive home I once again got time to reflect on the couple of days that had just been and all the laughs and things I had learnt. I learnt that the kids in a lot of these schools are genuinely interested to find out where their food comes from and their teachers genuinely want to teach them that.

I learnt that, once I got over my nerves and worry about forgetting what I had to say, interacting with students like this is very rewarding. And I leant the Seed to Store competition is a great opportunity and incentive for students, and community alike to learn about and showcase grains and pick up a lazy $1000! Most importantly I learnt that it is important for people like myself to go and showcase the good news stories and highlight the positives of the industry because for a lot of these kids it is probably something they have ever thought of looking at as a career, and to show them there is a lot more to agriculture then being a farmer.

Check out some of the previous winners here

The 2014 Winner – The Australian Grains Industry has a Great Story to Share

 

This is a great video entrant and runner up, from last year

 

And this guy won himself $1000, that’s a lot of chocolate!

 

 

Thanks to Belinda from the GRDC and Lynne from Young Farming Champions for this amazing opportunity and to Sarah and Cosi for the laughs and memories and I can’t wait to (hopefully) do it all again next year!

Impact 25 – Vote for Young Farming Champion Josh Gilbert

The accolades keep coming for Young Farming Champion Josh Gilbert

Currently on the journey of a lifetime to ParisCOP21 Josh has just been named in the top 200 people in the running for the Pro Bono Australia Impact 25 list

From CEOs of some of Australia’s largest charities and the Prime Minister, to one-person teams, the Not for Profit sector has spoken and nominated a wide range of people for the second Pro Bono Australia Impact 25.

Almost 200 people from across Australia and almost every aspect of the for-good sector have been recognised for being the most influential.

You can vote for Josh here and excitingly another legend in agriculture has also made the list.  Make Alexandra Gartmann one of your three votes

It is the second time Pro Bono Australia has called on those within the sector to nominate its champions.

After two weeks of voting, the top 25 influencers will be unveiled, acknowledging them for being leaders in a sector that accounts for 4.3 per cent of Australia’s GDP and employs over one million people.

With hundreds of people taking part in the nomination process, CEOs dominate the list of nominees, with 63 being chosen.

There were also former and current prime ministers, 2015’s Australian of the Year, and an author.

A large number of nominees also came from the executive level of Not for Profit organisations.

Last year’s Impact 25 was made up of a wide selection of household names, including World Vision CEO, Tim Costello, and domestic violence campaigner, Rosie Batty, both of whom have been nominated again this year.

Voting is now open and will close on Thursday 3 December.

Everyone who votes can go into the draw to win one of two free tickets to the Fundraising Institute of Australia’s 2016 conference valued at $1,750.

Click here to see the full list of nominees and to vote for Impact 25.

– See more at: http://www.probonoaustralia.com.au/news/2015/11/impact-25-nominees-unveiled#sthash.Wnc2hmP8.dpuf

 

Young farmers changing the way farmers are perceived

I recently attended an event where this statement was made

Agriculture doesn’t change the world, Agriculture prevents it changing

Visit here for some comment on this

Well I can assure you there is a new generation of farmers who are turning the way agriculture thinks, talks and acts on its head and they leading the change that agriculture must have

A great example of this is  Young Farmer of the Year and Young Farming Champion Anika Molesworth who was unable to attend the Farmer of the Year awards ceremony in Australia this week as she was presenting at the INTO conference in Cambridge in England

Anika Molesworth

Anika reports from Cambridge

“I am having an extremely exciting month! It was a thrill to win the Young Farmer of the Year award. Although I couldn’t attend the ceremony in Sydney, I was lucky enough to have my own awards night here- in a 17th century grain store on a fantastic country estate in Cambridge where they preserve heritage lines of sheep and cattle.

Speeches were made about the award with the 300 INTO delegates in attendance.
Climate change, agriculture and land use have been a real theme of this conference, and it’s been great to meet people from all over the world to hear their stories and feel the momentum growing in this discussion”

Wow are young farmers like Anika changing the way farmers are being perceived in the world – not only are our farmers on the front foot of climate change action and adaptation and mitigation strategies  we are now helping drive the conversations on the legacy our generation leaves for the future