Meet Alexandria Galea who doesn’t mind a cotton tale or two or three

Alexandria Galea  (9).JPG

Alexandria Galea doesn’t mind a yarn. She grew up on a cotton property in central Queensland and while she admits she didn’t have an instinct for farm work, she did develop a love of sharing stories from her farming background.

This love of sharing and storytelling led her to a degree in secondary school education.

“I was half way through my teaching degree when I realised I also wanted to study agriculture, and it greatly excited me to think of all the pathways I could take. Upon graduation I turned to the field to gain more experience and exposure to agriculture and was fortunate to be offered a role as a sales agronomist with Cotton Growers Services.”

Today we introduce you to the second of our 2018 Cotton Young Farming Champions Alexandria Galea

This is Alexandria’s story

For generations my family have been working on the land. The family tree has gotten its hands dirty in many fields starting in horticulture on the Mediterranean island Malta and dry land cropping in South Australia. Today some are growing sugar cane or rearing cattle. In the mix I have grown up in the Central Highlands of Queensland on my parent’s irrigation property where we grow cotton, grains and pulses.

Despite coming from these blood lines I never quite inherited the nature of the typical country girl. I blissfully ignored practicality and sun safety to rock getups that only the Spice Girls could pull off around irrigation ditches or cattle yards (at least I was easy to spot). Although I was never hard to find as you could hear me a mile away yelling for help when bogged or caught in such a good yarn with the calves that I’d walk straight into the backside of a cow.

Enough said farm work was not quite my strong point but I loved it. As I grew up I realised I had a passion for collaborating, sharing and learning with others, in particular youth, or what others would call an interest in talking the ears off somebody. With this in mind I set out to become a teacher.

Alexandria Galea  (6).jpg

A passion for teaching and sharing a story led to an invitation to join the Young Farming Champions program 

Following high school I spent my time split between studying a Bachelor of Secondary Education and working in agricultural businesses. Working in agriculture started as a necessity to pay for the hefty bills of text books and late night educational excursions at university to become a real joy which I looked forward to. I got to experience a range of jobs from working with agronomists bug checking, accounting and supplying growers with products. Most importantly I got to have a good yarn with a diverse range of people within the industry.

alexandria-galea-4.jpg

 Never a dull day in my office especially when you get stuck in the mud

I found this work very interesting and rewarding, it opened my eyes to the magnitude of careers in agriculture which are not locked within the boundary fence of a farm. For the first time I could see how I (the not so intuitive farm girl) could be involved in an industry so close to my heart. I enjoyed liaising with farmers, the mix of working in the field and in the office, understanding the science behind growing plants and the ability to see a range of crops across a vast area. I was half way through my teaching degree when I realised that I also wanted to be studying agriculture. This greatly excited me to think of all the pathways I could take. Upon graduation of university I had the opportunity to work in the classroom however I turned to the field to gain more experience and exposure to agriculture. I was fortunate to be able to take on a role as a sales agronomist with Cotton Growers Services.

alexandria-galea-1.jpg

Working in agriculture is full of challenges to overcome in particular managing climate constraints.

In this role I had the pleasure of facilitating educational workshops at the Emerald Agricultural College to give students exposure to and broaden their knowledge of different types of crops, roles within farming and a range of technologies. In this space I am the most excited, it is a feeling of its own to open the eyes of another especially about farming.

My path in agriculture has only just began and I am very excited to see where my sparkling boots take me and for the yarns to be had! All are welcome to join.

Alex joined 2018 Cotton Young Farming Champions Sally Poole and Anika Molesworth at our first YFC workshop for 2018 in Tocal this month and it is clear she well make a great storyteller for cotton. Welcome Alex

#YouthinAg #YouthVoices18 #ArchieAction #StrongerTogether

 

Young Farming Champions Muster July 2018 Week 3

This week’s Young Farming Champions stories from around the country

In the Field

Cotton Young Farming Champion Alexander Stephens takes out this year’s award for the most fields visited having covered over 6000km from Dalby, QLD, to Hay, NSW, and up to Kununurra, WA, to pick the world’s strongest and whitest cotton.

Alexander Picking Cotton Across Australia.JPG

What a way to see Australia, driving very big toys! We can’t wait to hear more about cotton picking on the Ord River, Alexander.

Wool Young Farming Champion Emma Turner spent last week home on the station collecting data for her honours thesis looking at the differences between 6 monthly and 12 monthly shearing. It involved lots of colour:

Emma T lots of colour.JPG

Out of the Field

Youth Voices Leadership Team Chair Jo Newton will be hosting our social media pages this week. Head on over to our Picture You in Agriculture Facebook page to follow along and enjoy Jo’s insights from the Dairy Research Foundation Symposium and  Australian Sheep and Wool Show in Bendigo 

YFC Anika Molesworth jetted off to Argentina this morning. By invitation from the Argentine Agriculture Minister, Anika will be visiting farms, running workshops with young farmers and presenting on global agricultural challenges and opportunities.

This program coincides with the G20 meeting in Buenos Aires, and part of her brief is to collaborate with young South American farmers to prepare a report for the Ministers on the vision of strong and resilient farming sectors, enabling young farmers, and promoting future industry leaders. Anika will be working with Australian Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud and visiting farmer groups to discuss collaborative relationships between countries and tackling the industry’s big challenges.

YFC Sam Coggins has just returned from Myanmar where he reviewed three Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) projects looking at pulses, soil mapping and nitrogen fertiliser efficiency. The three projects aim to improve food security and farmer livelihoods. Read more about what ACIAR is doing in Myanmar here

Sam Coggins in Rice Field

Prime Cuts

We are very excited to announce the Rice industry has joined the Art4Agriculture team and our very first Rice Young Farming Champion is Erika Heffer. Welcome Erika and thank you the Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia. We’re really looking forward to working together. Read the story here

Erika-Heffer3 (002) YFC

Following us on Facebook here and Twitter here

#YouthVoices18 #ArchieAction #YouthinAg

_2017 Supporting partners Capture

 

 

Sending the MOO MOOVERS some love

Yesterday our MOO MOOVERS delivered their 30th Archie for 2018. This means all schools participating in The Archibull Prize 2018 now have their big white canvas for inspiration.

Cartage of these big white canvases is one of the major costs of The Archibull Prize program and one big reason the program is not yet Australia wide.

Our MOO MOOVERS are very special people and moving the Archies is one of their favourite deliveries. This is because the arrival of Archie brings so much joy to the schools.

Archie

This year it was especially tough to decide who would be participating. We had some excellent entries from schools well outside our current funding partner zones and we reached out to potential partners who could support those schools.

Educating our young people is the responsibility of the entire community, not just schools. The Archibull Prize encourages schools, businesses, farming industries and communities to form partnerships to improve outcomes for young people and to recognise that by working together they can achieve far more than working alone. Partnerships can lead to better morale among teachers and the better use of resources within schools, leading to improved education outcomes for young people. Business can also experience improved staff morale, better awareness of their industry and community recognition.

Thank you so much to the organisations who came on board you will be well rewarded with lots of Archie love in your community. For other organisations who would like to support schools in far flung places in rural Australia in 2019, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Here is just one example of what your support can do

“Bovinity has been a focal point of the school community and the
entire town of Murwillumbah. Her staged travels throughout the
town were published on WordPress and then transferred to the
school Facebook account. Our following was very well received
and highly talked about. We have had offers of additional help
to the school farm and the show team from our tours around
Murwillumbah. This school farm and parts of township were
devastated by floods in 2017 and Bovinity has become a local
icon. School cohesion and pride were the most important factors
brought forward from the students. Bovinity is what our school
needed after the floods. A little bit of silliness and tongue and
cheek made the school and town smile. Her story is important to
so many students and their families.”
– Murwillumbah High School Secondary Teachers David Anderson and
Diana Martin

Bovinity.JPG

This year a special shout out to Riverina, Northern Tablelands and Hunter Local Land Services who go above and beyond and University of New England for supporting schools in rural and regional NSW.

And a huge shout out to our MOO MOOVERS. As some of our Archie recipients know they have some hysterical stories they could tell about what happens on the road and in squashed goods lifts in very tall buildings but their lips are sealed.

Our interstate Moo Moovers are DJ Lindsay

Doug Lindsay.jpg

and in NSW its the wonderful Hunter and Co 

hco_logomark.jpg

_2017 Supporting partners Capture

Youth Voices Matter

Laura Bennett (002).jpg

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.

YFC Voices Matter Facebook Cover.jpg

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

Sydney Royal Easter Show delivers a winner with Little Hands on the Land

Post a highly successful Primary School Preview Day in the Food Farm at the 2018 Sydney Royal Easter Show the following day our Young Farming Champions Events Team where given a behind the scenes tour by members of the RAS Youth Group

Jasmine Whitten

On Primary School Preview Day Young Farming Champion  Jasmine Whitten ran the Eggs-cellent workshop where students were given a 15 minute snapshot of how farmers ensure that only the very best eggs  make it into the carton in their fridge

First stop was a tour of the Cattle Pavilions were RAS Youth Group member Rachel Rodney provided insights into the planning  required to bring in the animal exhibits in the short turn around time between the show closing at night and opening next morning  Quite a feat when you think over 400 cattle may be moving in and out in a six hour period.

The YFC then moved to the Woolworths Dome and met with some of the teams behind the District Exhibit  displays and discovered there is over 12 months of planing to bring those magnificent display to life.

It was then onto the Poultry Pavilion where RAS Rural Achiever Joe Murphy  shared with the YFC his journey to become a Rural Achiever and the role of the Rural Achievers in assisting with running events at the show.

RAS Youth Group members Tobie Payne and Andrew Horne then introduced the YFC to the media centre team and the main arena announcers.  The YFC  discovered the Showground facilities entertain up to 1,000,000 people during the 12 days of the show and provide venues for sporting and community events for the other 353 days of the year.

Each year at the show there is a strong focus on providing visitors with genuine and fun agricultural experiences.  As it happens Young Farming Champion Tim Eyes is the night manager of one we think is brilliant ( almost as impressive as The Food Farm)

Little Hands on the Land is a working farm in The Daily Telegraph Paddock teaching kids from 2 to 10 the crop-to-shop agriculture story. Its a free activity that takes the little farmers on a journey through 10 stations including a milking barn, chook shed, fruit orchard, tractor pull and more before they get to the farmer’s market to trade their produce for farm dollars. Their hard-earned farm dollars can be spent at the last station – the supermarket.

In this video Tim explains how Little Hands on the Land works in the video below and our Young Farming Champions very enthusiastically took up the offer to show you what a whirlwind Little Hands Experience is like .

As you can see a good time was had by all including our intern for 2018 Haylee Murrell  who assisted YFC Tayla Field to run the Seed to Salad workshop

Haylee

Only boys can be farmers – Jasmine Whitten is blowing up outdated stereotypes

When I was fifteen my school careers adviser told me “You can’t become a farmer because that’s a boy’s job!”.

It was clear that she didn’t know me very well.  My upbringing has shown me there are no ‘boy jobs’ or ‘girl jobs’, especially in agriculture!  Rather than accepting this outdated notion, it kickstarted my journey to a career in agriculture.

Welcome to Jasmine Whitten’s story ………

The one thing everyone will tell you about me is that I ask ALOT of questions. I was fortunate to grow up on a diverse farm near Tamworth which produced beef cattle, wool and Lucerne hay. Spare a thought for my parents who were bombarded with questions from the day I learnt to talk. Anything from why are we feeding out hay or what does this broken part on the tractor do?

Jasmine Whitten 1

I can almost guarantee I asked that exact question just before this photo was taken and I was told to go grab the hammer from the ute.

I loved life on the farm. No day was ever the same and I never missed a chance to do things better or faster than my siblings.

My first paid job was helping to unload a truck load of hay at the age of 8. When you live an hour out of town it can be difficult to make it to sporting commitments. So, I always knew it was highly unlikely that I was going to end up being an athlete, unless, they made hay moving a sport?

In high school, I joined the school cattle team to learn more about agriculture and prepare and show cattle. My parents shared my passion and it wasn’t hard to convince them to do the two-hour return trip to pick me up from the after-school training sessions.

I was very surprised to learn that most of my peers on the cattle team were urban kids and I was one  that grew up on a farm. But I had just as much to learn as they did.

Jasmine Whitten 2

The cattle team taught me so much more than learning to care for animals. It taught me public speaking, team work, the role of a mentor and how to pass my knowledge onto others (which was perhaps the greatest challenge but the most rewarding).

In hindsight the most important discovery is I now know how important is to have role models, mentors and just people that believe in you 100%.  For me, it was people like Kate Lumber. I first met Kate at school where she passed on her cattle showing skills, coached me in meat judging at university and encouraged me to take every opportunity along the way.  She now works as an agronomist in Moree.

Going to country shows are some of the best memories as I have. I have made lifelong friendships, met people from all over Australia and built rural networks I know I can tap into for support and advice on my career journey.

I always set the bar high for myself and I was determined to be the  best I possibly could at cattle showing and judging. After every competition I would go up to the judge and saying “how can I improve?”

They were always so supportive, taking me through what I could tweak better next time. This commitment to continuous improvement paid off. After four years of showing and judging cattle I was awarded first prize at the Sydney Royal Stud Beef Cattle Judging Competition. At 17,  I was the youngest in the class and I was so proud that I had put in the effort to achieve my goal. To this day I still give back to the show movement by volunteering at youth camps and local shows whenever I can.

I am now following my dreams and studying a Bachelor of Rural science at the University of New England. This degree gives me an opportunity to gain experience all over Australia and I take every opportunity I can. I have worked as a Jillaroo on properties near Rockhampton, Hughenden and Kununurra. I have even competed in meat judging competitions, participated in animal welfare research, worked for an agricultural consultancy companies, through to product sales and learning what it takes to be an auctioneer.

Jasmine Whitten 3

The UNE meat judging team on judging day!

Jasmine Whitten 4

My day in the office as a part of the auctioneering team at Tamworth sale yards.

The opportunities I have been given have allowed me to find my niche in the egg industry. The technology and innovation in the industry is phenomenal.  Egg farms are continually investing in the application of new technologies which is having huge rewards for both the hens and those who work in the industry. Working on an egg farm requires extensive knowledge in the areas of environmental stewardship, animal nutrition and best practice animal wellbeing just to name a few. It’s a rapidly changing industry which has captivated my interests completely!

Jasmine Whitten 5

I can’t wait to go back to my school and share with my careers advisor that agriculture isn’t just about being a farmer and you certainly don’t have to be a boy.

You can be a vet, IT technician, agronomist, policy maker, researcher, journalist, accountant and many more with some jobs are not even created yet!

“I still remember in Year 10 being told by the counsellor at my old school that the farm was no place for a woman,” she said

“But we’re not going to be the cooks anymore. We’re going to be industry leaders. We’re going to be the ones telling the boys what to do.” Source

There will always be barriers to stop you achieving your goals. Don’t let stereotypes around what careers women or men should or should not follow blind you…… You can be anything you want to be! Seek out people who have followed the career path you aspire to, ask questions, and learn from those who have gone before you.

Find a way to climb over, push through or blow up your barriers and most importantly never forget to look back to help others climb over and push through their barriers.

Great advice Jasmine and and congratulations

Jasmine Whitten 7

Jasmine Whitten 2018 Armidale Showgirl

#youthvoices18 #youthinag #strongertogether

_2017 Supporting partners Capture

 

Teachers are the key to promoting careers in agriculture – its time to engage them using 21st Century creativity

It is undeniable that 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 the agriculture sector. Why is this so

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

“The language typically used in the farming sector to describe the roles of those employed in the industry is out-dated and reflects a mindset which is unattractive to young people. Farm jobs are advertised in terms such as farm hand, station hand, milker and shearer. These terms suggest low levels of skills, training, intellectual content and consequently low status. This is an inaccurate picture of the actual requirements of the contemporary farm employee. Farms require highly motivated, intellectually capable and broadly competent workers. They need people who are able to deal with a wide range of practical problems promptly and with ingenuity. Farm workers need to keep up with the latest research and developments in agronomy and business management. They need to be able to operate and maintain a wide range of technologies from the mechanical to the digital. They need to understand the impacts of global events and markets as well as local policy and market variables. They need significant financial planning and management skills, as they may be dealing with multimillion dollar budgets and regular transactions in the hundreds of thousands. These are exciting, diverse and challenging roles. Little of this comes across in the current nomenclature used to describe jobs in the agricultural sector and in the way the industry is depicted in the media and popular culture” Source 

The Archibull Prize program entry surveys reflect this outdated image of careers in agriculture with students struggling to identify careers in the sector beyond farming related activities. Most of the students’ words were about activities that farmers did i.e. feeding, harvesting, gardening, shearing, milking, watering.

In following Word clouds the larger the word in the visual the more common the word was used by the students.

Careers entry

‘In 2017, more than 323,000 people were employed in agriculture, forestry and fishing but if you consider those employed in the farm input and output sectors, the National Farmers Federation (NFF) says agriculture supports more than 1.6 million jobs in areas like transport and logistics, retail and processing. That means roughly 80 per cent of agricultural jobs are beyond the farm gate and the opportunities are wide and varied.’  Source 

With 80% of careers supporting farmers both beyond and behind the farmgate 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 the agriculture sector. A key hook for both teachers and students is the innovation, science and technology that drives 21st century farming. It is also pivotal agriculture provides them with the tools to workshop the diversity of careers.

YFC (12).jpg

Students and teachers relate to exciting young professionals working in the agriculture sector 

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 i.e. agronomist, vet, engineer, scientist, geneticist.

Careers exit

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 they would consider.

Careers 3 word cloud

Students as the end of The Archibull Prize were asked to list their top three choices of careers in agriculture 

The Archibull Prize evaluation Careers Teacher Response

With 89% of teachers in The Archibull Prize exit survey saying they were now confident teaching about careers in Agriculture and a 52% increase in the number of teachers who STRONGLY AGREED there are lots of opportunities for jobs and careers in agriculture its clear we have found a winning formula

The Archibull Prize program design allows agriculture to be embedded into the school curriculum across subject areas its hasn’t been traditionally able to reach. After participating in the program 83% of teachers said they would use learning activities about agriculture in other areas of their teaching.

 

_2017 Supporting partners Capture