If you are innovative, creative rural woman with a big idea you want to explore then check out this great opportunity

There’s just two weeks left to apply for the new-look 2018 AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award. Emerging women leaders are encouraged to apply for Australia’s leading Award in acknowledging and supporting the essential role women play in rural and regional businesses, industries and communities.


If you’re a woman who wants to innovate and make a difference, or contribute to enhancing the prosperity of rural and regional Australia you should apply for this life-changing opportunity.

The Award, formerly the Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation (RIRDC) Rural Women’s Award, has been renamed and adapted to align with AgriFutures Australia’s new strategic direction on the changing face of Agriculture, where technology is transforming the sector and successful and impactful leaders are skilled, professional, dynamic, entrepreneurial, commercially savvy and connected.

“Over the past two decades, the Rural Women’s Award has provided more than 200 women with significant professional development opportunities and importantly the opportunity to achieve positive change for rural and regional Australia. Award winners have delivered diverse and innovative projects relating to rural and regional industries, and the communities and businesses that rely on, and support them,” John Harvey, AgriFutures Australia Managing Director said.

To align with AgriFutures Australia’s new strategic direction and to ensure the Rural Women’s Award continues to identify, celebrate and empower women, a number of changes have been made to the Award criteria for 2018.

One important change to the Award is that projects or initiatives can be commercially focused, providing they still align with AgriFutures Australia’s strategic priorities of innovation, creativity, community sustainability, education, productivity, agribusiness, regional development and technology.

Location is also no barrier – applicants can live in rural and regional Australia, or in the city – their applications will be measured on the impact and benefits to rural and regional Australia.

Another important change to the Award criteria is that applicants are not required to have a specific project to be considered eligible, although projects are still welcomed. This year, applications can be submitted based on an idea, an identified problem, or an opportunity the applicant wants to focus on. Applicants may be in the early stages of working through how they want to contribute, or they may be well down the road in making their contribution.


2017 NSW/ACT AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award Winner and National Finalist and co-founder of Hay Inc Rural Education Program Sandra Ireson says, “Sometimes it’s too easy to sit on an idea and not make it happen. The Rural Women’s Award is a great motivator, and it allows you to draw on the skills and capacities of others to see your project come to fruition. The benefit you gain from that is enormous.”

Each state and territory winner receives a $10,000 bursary provided by Platinum sponsor Westpac, to bring their idea or project to life, access to professional development opportunities and national Alumni networks. The 2018 AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award National Winner and Runner Up, selected from the state and territory winners, and announced at a Gala event at Parliament House in Canberra in September 2018, will receive a further $10,000 and $5000 respectively.

Applications for the AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award are open now and close Sunday, 29 October 2017 at 9pm AEDT. 

For more information and to apply, visit the website here 

If you are a resident of NSW-ACT and would like to discuss your idea, or you would like to access a mentor who can guide you through the application process, please contact NSW-ACT Award Coordinator, Allison Priest on 02 6391 3620 or email allison.priest@dpi.nsw.gov.au

Win iPad mini in National Careers Competition

Art4Agriculture has partnered with the National Farmers Federation and Kidman and Co to celebrate National Agriculture Day (AgDay) on November 21 to run a National Careers Competition for school students with iPad Minis up for grabs.

 To be in the running for the iPad Minis the competition invites students from Years 5 to 12 to design an infographic around a career in agriculture that combines their strengths and passions.

 “Many people think that to have a career in agriculture means being a farmer,” Archibull Prize co-ordinator Lynne Strong said.

 “But that’s not the case. We want students to combine their passions with agriculture to develop a career in feeding, clothing and powering the world – and that career could be anything from the research laboratory to the boardroom and from robotics to energy production.”

 The infographic designed by students will detail how they envisage a career in agriculture, how they perceive a typical day or week and what tertiary education would assist them.

TV personality Costa Georgiadis is an avid supporter of The Archibull Prize and presented at the 2016 award ceremony.

 “ Careers in agriculture can take so many different shapes. Think what you have in your hands. The opportunities are endless, as is the energy and vitality of the young people that I have met that are involved in this space.” Costa tell students.

 President of the National Farmers’ Federation, Fiona Simson, said the careers competition will be a worthy contribution to National Agricultural Day.

 “Australian agriculture is such a dynamic and brimming with opportunity.

 “It’s fitting to complement the celebration of National AgDay with recognition of the diverse and exciting career opportunities in agriculture.

 “I’d encourage everyone to get thinking about how their skills could be put to use in Australia’s fastest growing industry – you might win the competition and discover an exciting new career opportunity along the way!”, Ms Simson concluded.

To find out how to enter visit here 

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Jess Lehmann – cotton and the power of social media engagement

Fashion house Jeanswest have launched their new Australian Cotton range   Australian cotton is recognised as the best in the world and our very own Young Farming Champion Jess Lehmann features in the Jeanswest campaign. You can read Jess’ blog for Jeanswest here

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“we’ve been so encouraged by Jeanswest willingness to get out in the field and learn from our farmers who are leading the world in the ethical and sustainable production of cotton,” says Adam Kay CEO Cotton Australia

Jess’ involvement is as a direct result of her very clever social media strategy. Watch this space for an upcoming article by Jess on how to leverage social media and how you too can share the great story of agriculture


As a bit of a cotton and jeans fan myself I will definitely be checking out the Jeanswest cotton collection 

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Cotton Young Farming Champion Sharna Holman a Mega Media Icon

Having spent the last week visiting schools in Sydney with Young Farming Champions (YFC) Jo Newton (dairy) Peta Bradley ( Wool) and Laura Phelps (Pork) it never ceases to amaze me how much I learn about agriculture and the way the students soak up everything the YFC share with them.

From the depth of the questions the students asked it was clear a great deal of investigation of their allocated agriculture industry has happened over the last 6 months.

its also very rewarding to travel around with the YFC and listen to what motivates them and their plans for the future.

I am constantly dumfounded at the depth of their talent.

An outstanding example of this is Cotton Young Farming Champion Sharna Holman who has become a mega media star this year. Sharna has been featured ( along with YFC Hannah Barber and Stephanie Fowler) in OUTBACK Magazine, and the RAS Times ( along with YFC Emma Longworth) and co-stars in this very clever series of Lone Stranger Adventure videos promoting best practice biosecurity outcomes



Go Sharna – cant wait to see where you pop up next


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The Power of the Cow goes Global

Next week Australian agriculture goes global at the World Environmental Educators Conference in Canada through The Archibull Prize.

A big shoutout to all the Young Farming Champions, the Picture You in Agriculture team, the students and teachers and our collaborating partners for making this possible

Extra big shoutout to Young Farming Champion Peta Bradley who designed the template for this poster  and Larraine Larri who will present the program on our behalf.


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Graphics by Lance Clayton of Lance Clayton Motion Design



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Larraine Larri presenting the Power of the Cow poster 

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Young Farming Champion Emma Turner wins the inaugural LANDMARK NSW MERINO SCHOLARSHIP

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Young Farming Champions Emma Turner and Hamish McGrath were two of four finalists in the NSW Landmark Merino Scholarship which was announced on 23rd August 2017 at  the Merino National held in Dubbo .

Emma Turner.PNG To win the scholarship Emma was identified by the judges as epitomising  ‘our best, most passionate & committed young “Merino” people.”

Emma received  $2000 towards tertiary education tuition, for the purchase of text books or study material.

To be eligible you must be –

  •  Between 18-28 years of age
  •  Currently studying a university course or Tafe equivalent full or part time
  • Committed to a career in the industry and it’s advancement
  • Have a desire to develop skills, knowledge and experience in the agricultural industry

Emma was selected to participate in the Young Farming Champions program in 2014. She has had extensive media and communications training as well as attended workshops where she  received consumer and social licence insights.

Emma remains active in the program as an alumni visiting schools yearly as part of The Archibull Prize.

You can follow Emma on Instagram @emma_laurel_ where she has 3,200 followers who enjoy her posts about farming on a 250,000 acre sheep station

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Jason Smith Young Farmer of the Year shows you dont have to own the land to farm the land

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Two members of the Art4Agriculture team were recently acknowledged for their contribution to the agriculture sector at the Australian Farmer of the Year Awards. Young Farming Champion Daniel Fox was runner up in the Young Farmer of the Year at the awards held at Parliament House in Canberra on 16th August. Greg Mills one of our Young Farming Champions communications experts and trainer won the Rural Consultant of the Year

Attending the awards our National Program Director was very impressed with how each of the winners shared their story

The winner of the 2017 Young Farmer of the Year is Jason Smith a dairy farmer from south-west Victoria. Jason is a great example of the modern ethos that ‘you don’t have to own the land to farm the land” and has successfully used the equity partnerships model to build his dairy business

Jason is a fifth-generation dairy farmer who, after the sale of the family farm, ventured out independently and today leases land in south west Victoria, running 300 stud Jersey and Illawarra cattle along with 200 young stock.

His passion and commitment to the industry is evident through his drive to succeed, furthering his leadership skills through education and leadership courses, and supporting the local community.

“Dairy farming is in my blood,” Jason said. “It was always what I saw myself doing.”

“Our family farm was sold when I was quite young. Venturing out on my own was a big risk and was going to be hard work, but I knew I needed to do it to achieve my goals. I had to make the decision, amidst severe drought, to leave the area I knew so well to farm further south, but it was the best move I could have made.”

“The Australian dairy industry has experienced some really tough times in the last few years, with the milk-price crisis and drought. Like so many others, I am dealing daily with those issues, but I am focused on working my way out of this challenging period.”

Jason is committed to his dairy business and on his leased property, is currently co-ordinating the clearing of 200 hectares of former blue gum plantations to reclaim the area for his dairy herd.

“My intention is to grow the herd to 600 cows within four years,” Jason said. “I have plans for a new dairy and to build an underpass to access the farms on the other side of the road, along with some other major infrastructure changes to ensure the farms growth.”

“I also have a goal to move from a lease arrangement to an equity partnership with the owner of the property I am leasing.”

Jason has shown a commitment to leadership within the industry, completing a Certificate 3 and 4 in Agriculture and engaging in a range of courses including the Woolworths Rural Leaders Course, Marcus Oldham Rural Leadership Program and Loddon Murray Community Leadership Program.

Norm Stone, Jason’s former TAFE lecturer, believes it is Jason’s dedication and determination which has seen him achieve his goals.

“Jason is a true ambassador for the dairy industry,” Mr Stone said. “He has a real love for his stock and embodies the commitment required to run a good modern herd, including investing the time and effort into a strong breeding program.”

The 2017 Young Farmer of the Year Award is sponsored by global leader in agricultural equipment, Case IH.

Case IH Brand Leader, Bruce Healy, commended Jason on his achievements and his ability to build a successful farming business from scratch.

“It is young farmers like Jason who we want to see out there in the industry, using their passion for agriculture and their personal drive to run a thriving farm,” Mr Healy said.

“Case IH has always acknowledged innovation and forward thinking as being integral to success and Jason certainly embodies these and makes a very worthy winner of the 2017 Young Farmer of the Year Award.”

Jason is keen to use his win to encourage other young farmers to invest in themselves as well as the farm.

“Like most farmers, my number one priority has always been the farm and my stock,” Jason said. “But I have seen great value in investing in improving my business and leadership skills.”

“There are some great programs and courses out there to help you to look outside the traditional square box and give you the confidence to turn those innovative ideas into reality.” Source


Jason Smith