Closing the gender gap in agriculture to promote STEM careers

Young Farming Champion Emma Ayliffe is presenting at the PIEFA Conference in Canberra today.  As a young person working in Agriculture Emma knows how exciting it is and loves to spread the word to all the young people she meets in schools. Emma’s presentation looks at the elephant in the room –  industry image.

This is what Emma will share with the audience ………….

The future of our world starts off in the classroom today.

Teachers have a major impact on student learning and career choices.

We have all heard stories about teachers discouraging students from following career pathways in agriculture. Why is that?

Industry image plays a key role in the ability to attract young people into agriculture

Sadly Agriculture has a reputation as the King of Gender Inequality.

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With statistics like these we can see why

  • For 100 years Australia’s agricultural secondary and tertiary colleges were MEN ONLY
  • It wasn’t till the 1970’s that they opened the door to women
  • It took until 2003 for the ratio of men to women studying agriculture at university to become 1:1
  • Whilst women now generate 49% of on-farm income they earn 8% less than men

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  • Women only hold 13% of industry leadership roles (compared to 28% across other industries) .
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  • In fact farming decision-making bodies have been described as “closed social networks” with men over 35 years still the most likely to be elected to boards, despite 40 per cent of Australian farmers being women, with an average incidence of tertiary education that is double that of men. An industry with a men’s club mindset.
  • Agriculture STILL has the least gender diverse board rooms with only 2.3% of women in CEO positions compared to 17% in other industries.

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  • It wasn’t till 1994 the Australian Law Reform Commission reviewed farm women’s legal status and finally defined them as “farmers” instead of
    • Domestics
    • Helpmates or
    • Farmer’s wives

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My name is Emma Ayliffe and I am 26 years old

I am VERY proud to say I am a member of a group of young people changing the face, image and gender diversity of agriculture

As you will have noticed I am female

What you might not know is I am

  • a farmer,
  • an agronomist,
  • a business owner and
  • a Young Farming Champion

I also sit on

  • The Southern Valley Cotton Growers Association Committee
  • Australian Cotton Conference Youth Committee
  • The Irrigation Research and Extension Leadership Group
  • And I am the Vice-Chair of the Youth Voices Leadership Team

As a Young Farming Champion, I go into schools as part of the project-based learning program The Archibull Prize. The Archibull Prize has gained the awesome reputation as being the Queen of Gender Equality

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My role as a Young Farming Champion in schools is to share my career journey in agriculture and inspire others (both men and women) to follow in my footsteps

Like me, many of our Young Farming Champions have STEM based careers.

As part of my agronomy business I am involved in crop research trials and conduct research myself. We test new and evolving farm technology including automation and advanced crop managements and many other areas of agricultural STEM.

AGRICULTURE HAS A LOT OF WORK TO DO TO CHANGE THE IMAGE OF CAREERS IN OUR SECTOR

As you can see from this word cloud from The Archibull Prize entry survey at the beginning of the program young people in schools struggle to identify careers in the sector beyond farming related activities. This is despite 82% of careers in agriculture supporting farmers both behind and beyond the farm gate.

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Talking about agricultural careers to teenagers in conjunction with The Archibull Prize comes at an opportune time as students make crucial decisions on their educational future.

Year on year The Archibull Prize evaluation shows us the key to success is exposing teachers and students to exciting young professionals working in diverse roles in agriculture.

To have young farming professionals share their experiences only makes the decisions better informed and raises excitement about STEM-based careers.

A key hook for both teachers and students is the innovation, science and technology that drives 21st century farming.

The Archibull Prize exit survey highlights the success of this approach

By the end of the competition students have a specific and varied repertoire related to actual career classifications rather than jobs around the farm. This is evident with more technical words being used like agronomist, vet, engineer, scientist, geneticist.

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With a large cohort of our Young Farming Champions being scientists and agronomists, their impact is evident through the high numbers of students who listed ‘Agronomist’ or ‘Scientist’ role. This is further confirmed as students listed their top three choices of careers in agriculture that THEY would consider.

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The full extent as to the endless opportunities and career options cannot be described in the short 5 minutes that I have here today but working with students participating in the Archibull Prize for SEVEN months in schools allows them to immerse themselves in every aspect of the farming industry as they study and explore ALL of the exciting career options.

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Women (like me) are key agents of change and innovation and offer significant leadership in sustainability, food security, rural communities, natural disasters and policymaking.

If we are going to have a profitable, productive, resilient and sustainable agriculture industry into the future the sector must been viewed as a career of first choice that promotes gender equality.

Young people are doing amazing things in agriculture – both young men and young women – we have a chance to model gender equity to the next generation when going into schools

The Archibull Prize model shows how far we have come.

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We invite you all to join us in The Archibull Prize to create a future where men and women work together as partners on farms and on boards and where the conversation is no longer about gender, but how we are building a better agricultural future for Australia.

Watch Emma talk about her career journey at the Sydney Royal Easter Show Secondary School Careers Workshop

 

 

 

 

Australian dairy industry cheering on researcher Dr Jo Newton in the Victorian Young Achiever Awards

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Dairy research scientist Dr Jo Newton has been named as a finalist in the 2018 Young Achiever Awards for her work fostering change in the Australian dairy industry through the adoption of genetic tools and technologies.
Dr Newton is one of three finalists out of 60 young people nominated under the Leadership Award category for the 2018 awards, with the winner to be announced at a gala dinner on May 18.
Dr Newton currently works for Agriculture Victoria Research on the ImProving Herds Project, which aims to determine the contribution of herd improvement to the Australian dairy industry.

“I grew up in suburban Melbourne and was introduced to agriculture through my experiences at Tintern Grammar’s on campus farm,” she said.
“Work experience in high school helped me set my sights on an agricultural degree and I moved interstate to study for a Bachelor of Rural Science.”

Dr Newton also completed her PhD in animal breeding and genetics before taking on her role with the Victorian Government.

“I saw the position advertised and the chance to work on an applied multi-disciplinary project in livestock genetics with direct engagement with industry was exactly what I was looking for,” she said.
“Working in agriculture means we are in a fast-growing sector; couple that with the digital revolution and a strong demand for graduates – it all makes for an exciting future in agriculture.”

She believes Australia has a strong track record when it comes to delivering cutting edge research, but there is room for improvement with its transfer of knowledge.
Dr Newton encouraged other young people to get into agriculture, particularly young women.

“Agriculture is still a male dominated industry, and being mentored by strong female role models early in my career, including my manager and PhD supervisor, has certainly played an important role in my development.
“I feel honoured to have been selected as a finalist; young people may only be 20 per cent of our current population but we are the future. I really hope to use this spotlight to promote the diverse career pathways and wonderful opportunities in the agricultural sector.”

ImProving Herds is a three-year, $1.8million project that has gathered evidence from real farms to determine the contribution of herd improvement to Australian dairy businesses. Funded by the Gardiner Dairy Foundation and Dairy Australia, ImProving Herds is a collaboration involving the Victorian Government, DataGene, Dairy Australia, Holstein Australia, and the National Herd Improvement Association of Australia (NHIA).

Media Article
Monday, April 30, 2018 | Media contact: Mel Curtis (03) 5561 9938
http://www.agriculture.vic.gov.au

Footnote

Jo has a big fan base across agriculture and we are all cheering her on. You can vote for Jo in the People’s Choice Awards here 

#GoGirlfriend #YouthVoices18 #Youthinag

Growing excitement about STEM careers in agriculture

One of the things that excites us about careers in agriculture is the opportunities available for young people to learn and grow and travel and travel to help others learn and grow

A great example is Young Farming Champion and Youth Voices Leadership Team member Laura Phelps who is currently a policy officer with the Department of Agriculture in Canberra has landed herself a job working with the British government on their BREXIT strategy. We look forward to Laura sharing her UK sojourn highlights with us.

Laura’s departure to the other end of the globe meant an early visit to her Archibull Prize school and she was wax lyrical about her visit to The Henry Lawson High School who are studying the pork industry in 2018

You don’t need to have an agricultural science degree to be excited about agriculture – that was the message Young Farming Champion Laura Phelps took to Years 9 and 10 students at Grenfell’s Henry Lawson High School recently. Laura was at the school as part of the 2018 Archibull Prize, where she introduced students and staff to the pork industry and the plethora of STEM careers available in agriculture.

“There are so many opportunities for STEM-based careers within the pork industry,” Laura said. “Ag-engineering, mechanical engineering, nutrition, biology, medicine etc. and it was great to see the kids already had a good appreciation of this. But what they were really interested in was bacteria and antibiotics and the role farmers play as antibiotic stewards and how pigs can create new antibiotics for us.”

Laura was “blown away” by the teachers at Henry Lawson High School and their approach to The Archibull Prize, incorporating high-level biology and chemical technology. As the school is in an agricultural zone many of the students already had a good understanding of agriculture and how this technology can be applied, but Laura found most students thought a career in agriculture involved doing an ag-science degree.

“Agriculture is reliant on a cross-pollination of degrees using a diverse set of skills and knowledge,” Laura said. “I was able to show the students that many other degrees have applications in agriculture, for example, engineering and chemistry. You don’t need an agricultural science degree to get excited about agriculture.”

Many of the students had strong ideas about their future careers with some wishing to be agronomists and one hoping to develop agricultural apps. “He can see all the smart-farm technology that is happening in the United States and he wants to be able to build it himself,” Laura said.

Talking about agricultural careers to teenagers in conjunction with The Archibull Prize comes at an opportune time as students make crucial decisions on their educational future. To have a young farming professional such as Laura Phelps share her experiences only makes the decisions better informed, and raises excitement about STEM-based careers.

_2017 Supporting partners Capture

Young Farming Champions Backing a Future for Agriculture in the fragile Far West of NSW

 

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Young Farming Champion and Climate Wise Agriculture founder Anika Molesworth

The arid zone of western New South Wales is hot and dry and expected to become hotter and drier with a changing climate. Forward planning and community collaboration is key to ensuring the future of farming in the fragile Far West. But what tools are needed?

This question will be addressed at “Outback to the Future” an upcoming free public seminar to be held at the Fowlers Gap Research Station near Broken Hill on Saturday May 12. Organised jointly by the University of New South Wales and Climate Wise Agriculture, the seminar will discuss the future of land management including new technology available now, future technology, how productivity and resilience can be increased, and how the latest research findings can be applied on the ground.

“Land managers of the Far West are no strangers to adversity – it’s a strikingly beautiful place to live out here, but it comes with its challenges,” Anika Molesworth from Climate Wise Agriculture said. “This seminar is about looking to the future, asking the hard questions, and working together to come up with solutions.”

Commencing at 10.00am the line-up of speakers includes: social researcher Emily Berry; animal ecologist Simon Griffith; wool and sheep specialist Gregory Sawyer; soil scientist Susan Orgill; livestock behaviourist Danila Marini; Judge at the NSW Land and Environment Court Simon Molesworth; climate researcher and veterinarian Greg Curran; General Manager of Research, Development and Innovation from MLA Sean Starling; local grazier Angus Whyte; artist Peter Sharp; and members of the local Landcare Youth Network.

“It’s a hugely exciting day – we’re going to be talking drones to move livestock, replenishing soil carbon to access green markets, industry innovations, art movements, and hear the visions from young locals,” Anika said.

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Livestock behaviourist and Young Farming Champion Dr Danila Marini

One particular presentation that is bringing futuristic-tech to the outback is that by Danila Marini. “Virtual fencing is exciting technology, giving farmers the ability to set up a fence line from their computer’” Danila said. “Close to commercialisation for cattle, virtual fencing uses GPS and a smart algorithm to contain animals within a boundary through the use of an audio cue. This technology has great potential for the sheep industry, especially for vast properties where fencing is either impractical or too costly.”

For further details on the seminar visit the website at https://outbacktothefuture.weebly.com/

#youthvoices18

_2017 Supporting partners Capture

 

 

 

Young Farming Champion Anika Molesworth honoured on Earth Day

Young Farmer Champion Anika Molesworth has been honoured by Instagram in their Earth Day celebrations as one of  “Instagram’s Most Inspiring Environmentalists”

Observed every year on April 22, Earth Day is a day to celebrate the planet and educate people about the need for environmental protection.

In honor of this eco-friendly holiday, Instagram highlighted individuals who are doing incredible and inspirational things for the Earth every day of the year. From photographers to scientists, artists, entrepreneurs, farmers, writers, small business owners, filmmakers, and chefs, here are just a few of the changemakers in the Passion Passport community who are using their platforms to fight for sustainability.

This is Anika’s profile

ANIKA MOLESWORTH (@ANIKAMOLESWORTH)

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What she does:

Anika is a researcher in international agricultural development who splits her time between her family’s arid outback sheep farm in western New South Wales, crop trials in the Riverina (where she’s completing her Ph.D.), and international fieldwork at the Cambodian Agricultural Research and Development Institute. No two of her days are ever the same — one morning she could be flying a drone with a multi-spectral camera over a cotton crop to gauge plant health and the next, she could be wearing a white coat and running laboratory experiments. But regardless of whether she’s wading through muddy fields to collect soil samples or giving TEDx talks, Anika is fighting for sustainable farming, environmental conservation, and climate change action.

What sustainability means to her:

“Sustainability means conserving and enhancing our precious natural resources so that future generations can enjoy a rich and wondrous world just as much as we have. That means looking after the wildlife, vegetation, soils, and water (the building blocks of a healthy environment). But in order to do this, we must realize the fragility of the natural world and our impact upon it. When we care for the land, it supports us.”

As you will see Anika’s joins some of the world’s greatest environmental legends

Read their stories here .

Anika is also a member of our Youth Voices Leadership Team Read about the team here 

#YouthVoices18

_2017 Supporting partners Capture

 

 

 

Youth Voices Matter

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Young people are in a unique position as they face the reality of an uncertain future but potentially they are bestplaced 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. The Archibull Prize seeks to enable and empower students to make decisions and take actions that contribute to creating a sustainable future. To assist the students on their journey we pair them with young professionals (Young Farming Champions) from the agriculture sector.

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Young Farming Champion and keynote speaker Anika Molesworth  explains why Youth Voices Matter is this excellent post  “Restless Development”  from her Climate Wise Agriculture blog

Around half the world is under 30 and nine in ten of these young people live in developing countries.

Some are calling it Peak Youth – never before have there been so many young people in this world.

Due to this, their voices are going to be heard, and their actions are going to be felt. Their presence in global to local issues will be known. Why do I think this? Because the young generation are now more educated, tech-savvy and connected than ever before. And they care about their future.

This is why youth coalitions are growing and hashtags like #YouthVoices18 matter.
Young people restless for change are striving for fair, just and ecologically-sustainable development.

The youth today are going to face challenges like never felt before in history.
Climate change, forced migration and ecological degradation to name a few.
When natural environments cease to function as they should, and communities fracture and disperse, young people are caught in the wave of consequences from past actions and inactions.

But the youth also play an important role in overcoming these challenges.

Youth voices are particularly powerful.
Their smart-phone megaphones and global cyber-networks mean ideas and information are shared instantaneously. They see the injustices, they hear of the biological-plundering, and they are motivated to speak up, knuckle down and swipe-left on the status-quo.
For instance, young people in many parts of the world are calling on their governments to do more to prevent harmful climate change impacts. They say the failure to protect their future by slow or inadequate action violates the rights of young people to life, liberty and property enjoyed by previous generations. The idleness to set in place policies and structures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions exacerbates the risk and intensity of droughts, bushfires and floods – severely impacting those setting out on a career in agriculture.

Young people pursuing farming have no small task on their hands. Striving for high quality produce and global food security whilst reducing our environmental footprint is one of the most significant challenges of our time. Many experts predict that by 2050, population demands from nearly 10 billion people will require a 60% increase in global food production or a significant change to the global distribution, storage, consumption and access to food. Education and empowerment of young people in agriculture is critical.

When planning a brighter future, we need to be guided by young people, drawing upon their energy, creativity and skills for positive change. There are so many exciting young people working in genetics, soil science, irrigation engineering, carbon capture research, etc. – powering ahead in research, technology development and sharing their stories. Our leaders must not only acknowledge their interest, but seek the input of the youth, to implement measures that effectively protect young citizens from the foreseeable impacts of the ‘mega-challenges’ like climate change, and provide the platforms for young people to rewrite the narrative.

Young people in agriculture are taking a seat at the solutions dining table.
Their restless desire to change the trajectory should serve us all food for thought.
As the people who will be most greatly impacted by climate change, social upheaval and ecological unravelling, they need to be armed with the skills and knowledge to face these head-on, and they need to be part of developing the global redesign.

When given the capacity, support and trust – these restless young people push the boundaries and become a force for ambitious positive change.

 

_2017 Supporting partners Capture

Our 2017 Archie finalists farewell the Sydney Royal Easter Show  

Each year the finalists in The Archibull Prize travel to the Sydney Showground  in November for our Awards and Exhibition Day.

We leave them in the loving hands of the education team at the showground to be stored and then showcased in all their glory at the Sydney Royal Easter Show in March/April of the following year.

Following the show our Archies then travel back across the country to their homes with the exception of

The Archie who will reside in Minister Blair’s Martin Place office for the next twelve months

Minister Martin Place

The Archie who will reside in the Director Generals Office

Director General Martin Place

The Archie who will reside in the Minister’s country HQ at Orange

Minister Oragne Office

and the Archie’s who have been chosen by the RAS of NSW to take pride of place at their events for the next 12 months

A big shout out to Jenny Hughes RAS Senior Agricultural Education Coordinator and her team for their support in showcasing the Archies to close to 1 Million people at the Sydney Royal Easter Show

IMG_4223 Jenny Hughes RAS Senior Agricultural Education Coordinator double checks the Archie’s are secure as they are loaded by Hunter and Co Transport for their journey from the showground to their place of display for the next 12 months 

 

A big shoutout to our supporting partners without whom none of this would happen

_2017 Supporting partners Capture