Young Farming Champion Sam Coggins is paying it forward on an international scale

In 2017 Young Farming Champion Sam Coggins graduated from university in one of the most prosperous cities in the world, yet his focus is on the millions of farmers in developing countries. He has a passion to help them strengthen their scientific and technological capacity and move towards sustainable patterns of consumption and production.

“In 2014, approximately 805 million people in the world did not have enough food

 to lead a healthy, active life. That’s about one in nine people on Earth.

The vast majority of these people live in developing countries. Poor nutrition

is the underlying cause in nearly half (45%) of all deaths of children under

five years old – 3.1 million children each year. While all people have a

right to safe and nutritious food, this human right is denied to many.

Like other important resources, food is not equally distributed across the world.”

Source World Vision

With a degree in soil science from The University of Sydney Sam now works with The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), an organisation that commissions research for the benefit of farmers in developing countries and Australia.

I’m chipping in as graduate in ACIAR’s soils program. I get to work on meaningful

projects alongside highly capable and down-to-earth people.

I’m genuinely loving it.

Sam credits his parents for financially supporting him through university, which allowed him the time and freedom to follow his altruistic dreams for a better world. While at university he:

  • Mentored and tutored indigenous high school students through the AIME program.
  • Created the Food Wastage Fighters Society with the aims to reduce wastage and boost community awareness. The society won the ‘Best New Club’ award and has over 150 members.
  • Studied for a semester in Sri Lanka and interned at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines through the New Colombo Plan Scholarship and spoke on behalf of the 100 2016 New Colombo Plan scholars at the awards ceremony.
  • Participated in the Bayer Youth Ag Summit in Belgium as well as the Chicago Council Food Security Symposium in Washington DC.
  • Went through the University of Sydney Genesis startup incubator, which generated projects such as ChemCrush (which won Best Social Innovation) and RiseHarvest.

Sam’s many achievements at university (including participation in AFL, soccer and athletics) culminated in the awarding of the prestigious University of Sydney Convocation Medal in 2018:

“This medal is awarded to one person who, in the previous year, graduated or

completed the requirements for a bachelor’s degree, and who has achieved a

high standard of academic proficiency, contributed to the diverse life of the

University, and may also have contributed to the broader community.”

On winning the Convocation Medal Sam was more rewarded by the joy in his parents’ faces, for personal recognition is not as important to Sam as the work he is doing. His time in Sri Lanka, in particular, was a life-changing event for him and taught him great lessons that will guide his career well into the future:

“I tasted the unfairness of the world during my semester in Sri Lanka. I learned

that achievements in my life will always originate from opportunities I was

lucky to get. This lesson beat the arrogance out of me and made me

commit to a career contributing to a fairer world.”

That career is on a stellar trajectory. Sam, with two friends, is further developing RiseHarvest, a smartphone app designed to help Burmese farmers use nitrogen fertiliser more effectively. This project was selected from 800 teams from 160 countries in the Thought for Food Challenge and will allow Sam and his friends to pitch the idea at the TFF Summit, which takes place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in July 2018.

Though the accolades may flow, Sam Coggins will remain committed to his ideals of contributing to that fairer world through agricultural innovation.

_2017 Supporting partners Capture

Young Farming Champions Muster – Week 4 May 2018

Our vision is to promote positive images and perceptions of farming and engage in activities and innovative programs that encourage Australia’s best and brightest to consider a career in agriculture

Our Young Farming Champions are regularly in the field and out and about sharing agriculture’s good news stories.

Our Young Farming Champions also grab every opportunity to learn and grow and pay it forward

This weeks top stories from Young Farming Champions across the country

From the Field:

This week Cowra Grain farmer  Marlee Langfield  is speaking to Paterson Rotary on women in agriculture, alternative career pathways and opportunities for youth in the rural communities.  Marlee is also visiting Vacy Public school as guest speaker talking all things grains with students currently undertaking a science and technology paddock to plate unit

In the Field

Dr Jo Newton is presenting at the AgriBio Site seminar on ImProving Herds

Anika Molesworth is participating in the  Rice Industry Leadership Program 2018 –2020 – the “Foundations of Leadership Course. This eight day program has been developed in conjunction with the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation.

Prime Cuts

People are agriculture’s most important resource. Young people in agriculture have access to a plethora of opportunities to grow as people, and to develop innovative ideas which will continue driving agriculture forward to a bright future

This week we are excited to announce

Sharna Holman has been selected to participate in the Future Cotton Leaders program . Previous YFC participants have been wax lyrical about this program and we look forward to Sharna sharing her  Future Cotton Leaders journey with us and the wider community

Lucy Collingridge and Stephanie Fowler have been successful in receiving a scholarship to attend the Royals of the Commonwealth Conference in Edmonton. This is another experience that has allowed previous YFC scholarship  winners like dynamo Hannah Barber  to contribute at the highest level to the agricultural show movement.

Sam Coggins  has won both the University of Sydney Medal for High Distinction subject average and the prestigious Convocation Medal which honours alumni who have shaped our world

#Youthinag #YouthVoices18

_2017 Supporting partners Capture

 

 

23 year old CEO Marlee Langfield says you have to be fearless

“It can be lonely spending endless hours on the tractor during sowing or on the header at harvest; I just sing along with the radio for company. You have to be fearless, too. You can’t be afraid of much or it’ll hold you back.” Marlee Langfield  

Young Farming Champion Marlee Langfield at just 23 years of age is CEO and manager of her family farm ‘Wallaringa’ in Cowra.  in 2016 women represented 28.1 per cent of Farmers and Farm Managers (39 776 people) in the census but only 2.8% of women are in CEO positions.

WomenInAg_Graphs

Marlee had 10 years to prepare ( see backstory below) herself to take on the CEO position and with the support of her family and network of wise advisers she has made the most of every minute.  Marlee pours as much energy into her ‘in-field’ activities as her “from the field’ activities.

This week she shares her love of agriculture, its diverse career opportunities  for youth in rural Australia with Paterson Rotary.  She will also be guest speaker at Vacy Public school for students undertaking a science and technology unit paddock to plate.

Marlee is a great example of young people in rural and regional Australia paying it forward and inspiring others to do the same

Below is the backstory reprinted from a Farmonline interview in 2012 when Marlee was just 15 years old.

WHEN Marlee Langfield’s father Thomas died in 2008, he left his daughter with a love of the land, an aptitude for farming and an inner strength that makes her seem more mature than most 15-year-olds.

Mr Langfield ensured the 1000-hectare cereal cropping farm, Wallaringa, near the NSW Central West town of Cowra, would pass directly to Marlee (pictured), allowing her to decide in her own time whether farming was in her future.

In the meantime, the farm is being managed by Mr Langfield’s nephew Rod Wright.

Marlee is actively involved in running the farm, along with Mr Wright’s sons Joshua, 17, and Nathan, 16.

“The boys are like brothers to me as I don’t have any siblings close to my own age,” Marlee said.

“Rod makes all the farming decisions at this point because I’m not in a position to do that at the moment.

“It’s hard when you’re not sure what you’re doing but when Rod’s around he demonstrates and explains what to do so that I’ll know next time.”

Mr Wright is proud of Marlee’s positive attitude and enjoys playing an active role in preparing her for a farming future.

“Marlee’s ability to adapt and adjust is absolutely remarkable,” he said.

“We’ve tried to maintain a family farm atmosphere, which means that Marlee is getting the hands-on training she’ll need if she decides to continue with a career as a farmer.

“She has great practical skills as well as an ability to take on board new techniques and innovations.

“She’s very talented and, operationally, I would say she’s better than most boys her age.”

Marlee doesn’t see her gender as an issue or an obstacle to a future in farming and says the ability to work alone as well as with others is one of the most important character traits for a successful farmer.

“It can be lonely spending endless hours on the tractor during sowing or on the header at harvest; I just sing along with the radio for company,” she said.

“You have to be fearless, too.

“You can’t be afraid of much or it’ll hold you back.

“I’m very outgoing and capable in that way – not much really worries me.

“The best part about farming is the freedom it gives you.

“You’re surrounded by big open spaces and you can just grab the dog and hop on the motorbike or in the ute and go for a drive up the paddock to check the crop, repair a fence or measure the rain.

“I’ve definitely inherited a love of the land from Dad.

“He grew up on Wallaringa and helped farm this land with his parents, brother and sisters and then on his own.

“Now Dad has passed it on to me.

“I never really thought actively about whether I would take over the family farm; it was always just there.”

To help prepare her for adult life, Marlee is now doing part of her high school education in Canada, where she is checking out the Canadian farming scene.

Her mother Wendy said it was important for her daughter to gain as many experiences as possible before deciding to settle into farming.

“And, of course, she may decide not to come back to the farm,” she said.

“Marlee has plenty of opportunities ahead and this experience will definitely benefit her.”

 

Youth Voices at LambEx

LambEx is an annual celebration of all things great in the Australian sheep and lamb industries and part of the celebration is the naming of finalists in the Young Guns competition.

The aim of the LambEx Young Guns Competition is to recognise and encourage

young and upcoming industry professionals, producers and scientists to

consider a future or ongoing career in the Australian lamb industry.

 

Deanna Johnston, our shearing YFC currently working in Longreach, was runner-up in this competition in 2014, and in 2018 we are proud to announce that another YFC, Danila Marini, is a finalist. Danila works in the field of animal (and in particular, sheep) welfare research:

To be named a Young Gun is exciting.

 I’m so glad to be given the chance to talk about the opportunities and the bright future

of the Australian Wool and sheepmeat industry. I think Young Guns is important

as it gives young people within the industry the ability to be involved

and learn new skills.

But it’s not only our YFC making waves as finalists. Hannah Haupt from Calvary Christian College in Brisbane was part of the Grand Champion Archibull Team in 2017, when the school studied the wool industry, and she is a finalist in the high school division.

Calvary Christian College (1)

Here’s what LambEx says about Hannah:

Hannah has qualified for the 2018 Queensland Young Judges State Meat Sheep Finals

and received a Scholarship to Queensland Agricultural Colleges TASTE program.

This was the 2017 EKKA Young Judges (junior) Scholarship. This scholarship covers

many areas of agriculture including sheep and lamb. Hannah plays an active part

in her school’s Junior Ag program, helping out regularly with a variety of sheep

husbandry and paddock maintenance. She is very passionate about the sheep and lamb industry and would gladly consider having a career in the sheep and lamb

industry in the near future.

When we survey our Young Farming Champions one of the key messages they send us is a desire to reach out and connect with someone who has walked in their shoes, to have a conversation with a peer or to be mentored. This is part of the Art4Agriculture vision, so it is very exciting for us to announce that Deanna will mentor Hannah and give her valuable insights into the Young Guns competition.

At LambEx, to be held in Perth from August 5-7, Danila and Hannah will make a four minute presentation to judges discussing their current role and potential future in the sheep and lamb industry. Good luck girls. We wish you both success.

Cheering them on from the sidelines will be Young Farming Champions Adele Offley and Chloe Dutschke travelling to Perth to ensure they are up-to-date with the opportunities for wool producers.

#YouthinAg #YouthVoices18 #LambEx

LambEx.png

_2017 Supporting partners Capture

 

Young Farming Champion Dr Jo Newton wins Victorian Changemakers Leadership Award

I have worked with some phenomenal young people in my life-time and I know how well deserved this acknowledgement of Jo Newton’s contribution to the empowerment of young people is.

Jo Newton Winner Victorian Young Achievers Leadership Award Winner.jpg
Dr Joanna Newton Winner Leadership Winner in Victorian Young Achiever Awards 

Jo was nominated for this award by her employer. When she asked me to be one of her referees, I thought how do you do some-one like Jo justice.

I have never met anyone so selfless and so team focused. Jo is a city girl who discovered agriculture at school and made it her career journey. Her passion is the science, her dedication is partnering with farmers to build the trust necessary to take the science out of lab and onto the farm. She spends every minute ruminating, consulting and planning how to make this happen

In her spare time she gives every minute to agricultural advocacy and supporting youth in agriculture.

If ever there was some-one who epitomised the word champion its Jo Newton.

IMG_5382.jpg

Jo said on accepting her award

In Australia less than 1 in 3 leadership positions are held by women. In agriculture its less than 1 in 7 leadership positions held by women so it is an incredible privilege to have my contributions to agriculture recognised here tonight.

Hard work, passion and determination can take you a long way, what I have learnt is the journey is much easier when you are supported by family, friends, colleagues and mentors along the way.    

Whilst young people like Jo may only  be 20% of the population,  they are 100% of the future.  Young people are in a unique position as they face the reality of an uncertain future but potentially they are best-placed to push for and define the long-term societal response to the planet they envision. They are also the most vulnerable to the legacy of decisions made by older generations. Although young adults arguably have the most to gain and the most to lose their voices are not prominent, and too often engagement with this crucial demographic is in many ways limited. How do we work together to break down the barriers to Youth Voices?

To quote from a speech another Young Farming Champion gave at the Australian Farm Institute Conference in 2017

Investing in our youth will secure the future for Australian agriculture.

We can all invest in our youth

As an as an individual, you can identify enthusiastic young members of your industry.

Encourage them to tell their stories, to step up and do a leadership program, to become the voice for the future of their industry.

Invest in them.

Together we can ensure a bright future for Australian agriculture. Dione Howard AWI Young Farming Champion

Yes its that simple. Lets do it together

#YouthVoices18 #Youthinag

_2017 Supporting partners Capture

Shorn No Bull puts the spotlight on NSW smallest high school

The 2018 Archibull Prize is now in full swing with schools receiving their Archies, connecting with their Young Farming Champions and starting their blogs. I was very taken by this heartfelt blog post from the smallest high school in NSW

Welcome ‘Shorn No Bull’ to Bombala High

Hello and welcome to Bombala High School’s Archibull journey.

This is our very first year of participation and we hope you’re as excited about the Archibull Prize as we are!  In this, our very first post we thought we would take the opportunity to introduce our school and address the white bovine in the room… Why Archibull?  Situated in the southern most region of the Snowy Mountains shire, Bombala High is the smallest high school in New South Wales. Everything we do at Bombala High centres around our school values which are personal best, respect and responsibility and we pride ourselves in our ability to deliver a high standard of secondary education to the children of our rural community.

So why is Archibull right for Bombala High? I hear you ask. Well of course we are motivated by the generous prizes on offer however; there is more to Archibull than mere accolades. Participating in the Archibull competition will provide a variety of valuable opportunities to our students, most notably the chance to be part of something larger than themselves, as well as the ability to give their small, remotely situated school a voice on a national platform.  Being situated on the Monaro it is very apt indeed that our assigned industry is wool. Agriculture and specifically the wool industry make up a large component of the local economy. This means that the Archibull is particularly relevant to many of our students, whose families are employed within the wool industry. A major component of the Archibull is research into the allocated industry and consequently, the Archibull will provide an invaluable opportunity for students to explore the wide range of employment opportunities on offer within the wool and agriculture sectors, as well as furthering their understandings of how these industries operate and contribute to local and national economies.

The creation of our Archibull also provides a range of opportunities for students with different strengths and skill sets. Participation in the Archibull is designed to be inclusive and is not limited to those with artistic abilities. The compulsory blog component of the Archibull is an invaluable chance for our budding writers and information technology students to participate and further their skills. We will also be calling on our agriculture and primary industries students to provide us with information about the wool industry, sustainable agriculture and biosecurity.  All in all we have a lot to do in the upcoming months and we look forward to sharing our Archibull journey with you all.

Bombala High School will be working with Young Farming Champion Dione Howard who knows what its like to grow up in a small town in rural NSW. She looks forward to inspiring the students to follow in her footsteps to a career in the agriculture sector.

 

Special shoutout to the Monaro Team at South East Local Land Services for supporting Bombala High School on their Archie journey

Image: Northlakes High School entry in 2015 Archibull Prize

_2017 Supporting partners Capture

Outback to the Future – enabling the next generation of landcarers

 

In a testament to the drive of young people within agriculture, our Young Farming Champion Anika Molesworth was one of the key organisers for a recent conference in the far west of NSW bringing climate change and technology together.

On May 12 approximately 50 people travelled to Fowler’s Gap, about an hour north of Broken Hill where Anika farms with her parents, to attend the seminar Outback to the Future. Held in conjunction with the University of New South Wales, the seminar brought together scientists, industry leaders, government representatives, graziers and the general public to discuss the future of these fragile arid lands.

“In the room, we had people from many different disciplines, different ages, from people who have careers studying life under microscopes, to people who spend long days in dusty sheep yards. What we all had in common was a fire in the belly to look after this land, and everyone in the room had unique perspectives and skills that brought value to the conversation. Our focus – how to best manage the fragile environment of the Far West into the future, so as to ensure sustainable farming businesses and vibrant and resilient rural communities.

With ten research organisations represented in the room, we asked the questions; What solutions are at hand? What solutions do we need to create? What research needs to be done, and what technology do we need to develop?

We started the morning session with the big picture. Our first two speakers set the scene with perspectives on research and technology  in Australian agriculture, and climate change. We then moved into livestock management and welfare, and the importance of looking after our natural resources for the benefit of our farming businesses. The afternoon sessions had a more personal perspective, as we heard from members of our community – from young members of the community in high-school, to seasoned graziers, and a university lecturer who brings Sydney students to the outback, some for the very first time. The discussions and viewpoints were varied and unique – bringing great value and depth to the seminar.” Anika Molesworth

In the spirit of collaboration another Young Farming Champion, Danila Marini from the University of New England, gave a presentation on virtual fencing and how it could be applied to the vast stations of western New South Wales using a system of smart collars and GPS coordinates. Danila has previously worked on pain relief methodology for sheep and is becoming well known for her animal welfare advocacy.

Another #youthinag highlight was the Landcare Youth Network ( see footnote) presentation with the speakers using no paper notes, preferring phone notes instead and talking about their hopes, their concerns, and the next generation of farmers.

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Kagen Pearce, Maggie Tavian and Chloe Roberts from the Landcare Youth Network 

Kagen spoke about the importance of educating youth and giving them the skills to thrive. He highlighted the importance of programs like the Youth Network.

Maggie told the audience of the importance of investing more time, money and research into the sustainable farming future of the Far West.

Chloe said we need more from our leaders, including scholarships and grants to develop the capabilities of land mangers and young people in the region.

All three said they were interested in a future owning land in the Far West region, and recognise the need to develop their own skills and knowledge, and promote a supportive local and regional community.

Anika’s take-home messages from the seminar were:

  • The importance of having research stations like Fowlers Gap in the Far West, where arid-zone research can take place and provide a fostering environment for learning and experimenting.
  • There is exciting research being undertaken and technology being developed nationally and internationally, which could be applied to farming systems in the region with a few tweaks, and we in the Far West need to demand that it is made accessible and affordable to land managers.
  • The importance in having seminars and discussions that include the voices and perceptions of people from many different disciplines, industry and ages, in order to promote collaboration and creative thinking.

Congratulations to Anika and Danila, two Young Farming Champions blazing paths in agriculture.

Footnote

The Western Landcare Youth Network is an annual program aimed at providing young people with a platform to explore a future in agriculture and the environment with access to skills training in these fields. The Network allows Far West youth to connect with each other and make a difference to their communities under the guidance and assistance of mentors. Students also make a difference to their communities by developing local environmental projects that they carry out. The three pillars of this group are; learning, developing and contributing.

_2017 Supporting partners Capture