The Power of the Two Way Conversation

Our guest blog today has been written by Target 100 Beef Young Farming Champion Hannah Barber who recently visited Bega Valley Public School as part of their Archibull Prize journey Hannah Barber

My final whirlwind visit for the Art4Agriculture program for 2013 took me to the gorgeous Sapphire Coast and the home of famous Bega cheese, where Bega Valley Primary School opened up their doors to me to listen to my personal story of my involvement in agriculture and our Australian beef cattle industry.

Upon the conclusion of questions at the end of my presentation, I was introduced to ‘Buttercup’ – the schools fibreglass Archibull calf. Unlike other schools I visited, Bega Valley Public School had already painted their calf, so it was now my turn to learn as I enquired about the intricate Aboriginal artwork that covered Buttercups hide. Kim Cooke, the teacher in charge of the schools involvement in the program, shared more of her valuable time to talk me through the painting, which depicted the map of Bega and districts in traditional Aboriginal painting.

BVPS with Hannah

The entire calf was a wonderful work of art, and is an absolute credit to the Koori students of Bega Valley Public School and Mrs Cooke, who all contributed to the designing and painting. Most outstandingly, proudly sitting on Buttercups right shoulder was a ‘district’ of much brighter colours, depicting a sacred site to the people of the area. This concept of a sacred site intrigued me on my journey home, so I began researching to better understand. Beliefs and histories vary between Aboriginal groups, however the most commonly accepted & important aspect of a sacred site relates to the time of The Dreaming when spirits walked the earth and created our natural environment, including plants, animals and people. The particular geographical locations that were of significance within the life of a spirit, for example their place of birth, death, or where the performed rituals, became ‘sacred’ to the people of that area and those who descended from that spirit.

I do not identify myself as an Aboriginal Person however I do identify myself as a farmer. In the current hostile social climate of reports, investigations, extremist groups and constantly defending ourselves, it’s easy to forget the strong, positive connections we have to other communities. Learning of this rather undefinable, spiritual connection to the land felt by Aboriginal people, I felt an instant kinship with our traditional owners. It is one of my favourite and proudest things to tell people that the house built by my great grand father is the very same one (with a few upgrades) I call home today. Strange enough to admit, but I still get jealous of my fathers relationship with my great grand father. He passed on years before I was born and I never got to meet the man who cut through the pine trees to create the very drive way I travel up & down, crying nearly every time I return to Uni.

The Dreaming is referred to as something that happened long ago when great heroes lived, however is still present today. I related this easily to our property. I can stand at our highest point and look over green paddocks, fat livestock and feel the great happiness seeing our country thrive with vitality and sustainability that only generations of love can create. I do not see dollar signs, as some may insist is the famers main goal in life, I see the passion and hard work of my ancestors and know that they are still very connected, very present in the land today.

Agriculture is not simply a sensationally diverse industry with endless opportunity, it is a lifestyle that involves great emotion and spiritual connection to our land, in some cases dating back generations, which is why outlandish attacks from activist groups hurt so much more than the economical and public perception reactions they aim for. Their ignorance leads to accusations based on our practices that have been developed through years of experience, research and development, to deliver the best & safest produce on increasingly shrinking land mass.

Nearing the end of my university degree, the most common piece of advice offered to me by other teachers and lectures is to network; create relationships with your peers and mentors and stay connected as you will always need help and support throughout your career, but particularly in your early years. Of all the titles that I can call myself – Uni student, swimming teacher, vice-president, my favourite still remains farmers daughter. I am a young farmer and I recognise the importance of continuing this practice of networking and connecting from my career in education through to my life in agriculture, which unfortunately, with our backs against the wall for so many reasons, has become a practice between those within the industry only, often excluding outsiders and other communities with detrimental effects.

It’s difficult to let others in to share the joy of our fragile land, something we are so protective of and so connected to. The ability to promote our industry and practices is so often over shadowed by the defensive protection we feel when exposing our spirituality to those who don’t understand, or who want to engage in attacking practices. The most fortunate situation is that majority of the general public are open and willing to increase their knowledge about the industry, and this is where it is up to us as farmers to facilitate the conversations of change. Like I have learnt of and been inspired by Aboriginal people’s stories and sacred sites, so to will many of our urban cousins find a particular connection to our story, the story of Australian Agriculture.

I thank the Wiradjiri people of my area, and the generations of my family who have put years of sweat and tears into developing our property. I acknowledge all of you and your connection to the land I call home, and thank you for the knowledge you have handed down and the care in which you treated this wide brown land.

You can read the Bega Valley Public School blog here

Target 100 announces 2013 Young Farming Champions

Target 100 – an initiative by Australian cattle and sheep farmers to deliver more sustainable cattle and sheep farming by 2020 – is delighted to announce its Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champions for 2013

This year we have again been impressed by the high quality of the Young Farming Champion candidates. They have a great breadth of experience and a passionate commitment to a sustainable future for the Australian beef and lamb industry and will undoubtedly prove to be strong and effective advocates

Elise Vale Community Engagement Manager.

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The Target 100 Young Farming Champions for 2013 are:

Jasmine Nixon, 24, from Wagga Wagga in NSW.

jasmine-nixon-wabs

My passion is agriculture and I am proud to say I love my beef cows! Every day I know that I am contributing to help feed the world – and I also love what I do. Agriculture is an exciting place to be, yes there are challenges but there are also endless different opportunities within agriculture and that is something I hope to share and encourage a new generation to take on the challenge to help feed the world!

You can read Jasmine’s blog here

Hannah Barber, 22, from Parkes, NSW;

Hannah Barber

Education is the key to ensuring the Australian agricultural industry is understood and supported by our urban cousins and I look forward to a career where I can achieve this, and then come home to the farm every evening.

You can read Hannah’s blog  here

Danille Fox, 19, from St George, Queensland;

Danille Fox

I see today’s agricultural industry as exciting and challenging and I feel privileged to be a part of an industry which is so vital to Australia’s future. I look forward to contributing to the industry through my veterinary profession and AGvocacy roles

You can read Danille’s blog  here

Naomi Hobson, 23, from Georgetown, Queensland

“People will only conserve what they love, love what they understand, understand what they know and know what they are taught,”  says Naomi.

Naomi Hobson 1470

It doesn’t matter what your background may be all you need is enthusiasm, a willingness to learn and the ability to say yes to the opportunities that are presented to you and I guarantee a great adventure will be waiting!

After all, as Dorothea wrote…

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back threefold.

Read more about Naomi here

Our four Champions will share their stories with urban Australians and help improve city consumers’ understanding of the challenges of producing beef and lamb sustainably.
Our aim is for these young women to become part of a strong network of equally passionate young rural people who are encouraging consumers to value, be proud of and support the Australian farmers who feed and clothe them.
An important aspect of their role as Young Farming Champions will be to speak with school children about how sheep and cattle are raised.
Hannah, Danille, Naomi and Jasmine will go into schools which are participating in the Art4Agriculture Archibull Prize program and spread the word on the sustainability of the beef and lamb industry.
By actively engaging in two way conversations the Young Farming Champions will help bridge the gap between city and rural communities by increasing knowledge, generating trust and understanding of modern farming practices.

We will be hosting our  Beef Young Champions at our head office and introducing them to our team members and supporting their journey every step of the way. We wish them well over the course of this year and look forward to their feedback so we can optimise the beef and sheep farmer story experiences we provide in schools and the wider community!

On behalf of Art4Agriculture and the Beef Young Farming Champions we salute the Target 100 team and thank them for investing in next gen food and fibre

Jasmine, Danille, Naomi and Hannah will join the Art4Agriculture team of 2012 Young Farming Champions and we are looking forward to working with them all. They light our fire and keep it burning. So much energy and commitment for a dynamic, innovative exciting and profitable agrifood sector

Meet Hannah Barber who has farming in her blood and farming in her heart

Expressions of interest are now open for our 2013 Young Farming Champions and already we can see the selection panel is not going to have an easy time

Just to show you the level of talent meet Hannah Barber who says

Education is the key to ensuring the Australian agricultural industry is understood and supported by our urban cousins and I look forward to a career where I can achieve this, and then come home to the farm every evening.

This is Hannah’s story……

I was born and raised in Parkes, in central west NSW and have been lucky enough to call two farms in the region home for most of my life.

Parkes

My mother & Stepfather own ‘Keilor’, 1400 acres 30km west of Parkes, where we have broad acre cereal cropping, first cross ewes and home to our beloved black Angus stud, Keilor Angus. Our stud is relatively young, only being registered in 2005 but successfully produces top quality cattle with great temperaments and sought after bulls, and this is where my love for the angus breed and the beef cattle industry began.

Calf at home

This little cutey is one of our new angus calves

My father is the third generation to farm ‘Pinegrove’ north of Parkes in the Goobang Valley where although we also have Angus cattle and first cross lambs, cropping is the main activity on the property, with about 1700 of the 2000 acres being sown.

Dad during harvest

Dad harvesting the wheat

In 2013 we will celebrate the hundredth anniversary of when my great grandfather Stewart Barber cut through the pine trees and settled his family on his new property. The main house still has the original foundations, and many heritage aspects of the home he built.

Pinegrove Parkes

Our family home at Pinegrove Parkes

Apart from acting as a service centre to the surrounding mixed farming areas, Parkes has developed a connection with the mining community due to Rio Tinto’s Northparkes copper & gold mine that has encouraged growth in our area over the last decade. We also have the famous CSIRO radio telescope, or ‘the dish’ as it is affectionately known, that assisted NASA in tracking the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing – our little town brought the world the images of the first time a man walked on the moon.

Wheat & The Dish (5)

The Dish makes a great backdrop for this paddock full of wheat

There is a lot to be proud of my home town, which was why, in 2010 I was incredibly honoured and humbled to be named Parkes Showgirl. My involvement in the rural show movement has been a central part of my year, between junior judging, entering art & sewing and competing my horses all over NSW I have been involved in agricultural shows my entire life. Being awarded 2010 Parkes Showgirl, then being selected to represent Zone 6 as a 2011 State finalist for The Land Sydney Royal Showgirl Competition was the first introduction I had to the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of not only my local show but the Sydney Royal Easter Show.

50th Anniversary of Showgirl dinner (7)

Me centre with Young Farming Champion and runner up in RAS NSW Showgirl 2011 Stephanie Tarlinton aka @proudlydairy and @duofreefriday

I met so many sensational young farmers and industry professionals and maintained my connection to the show after the competition by joining the Agricultural Societies Council of NSW Youth Group, of which I have been a committee member for the last two years. In 2012, having grown within the industry and still having such a huge passion and pride for both my home town and the competition, I entered my local competition again and made history be achieving what others before me have tried, but not succeeded, by winning the Parkes Showgirl competition for the second time.

At the end of 2011 I was selected to attend Australian Women in Agriculture’s Next Generations Leadership and Decision Making in Agriculture course in Canberra, where I was able to develop my professional skills and meet many inspirational women and politicians, which sparked my existing interest in politics into a potential career aspiration. Attendees at these last few courses were invited to apply to accompany the AWiA as Next Generation Delegates to the Inaugural Global Conference on Women in Agriculture in March 2012 in New Delhi, India. I was fortunate enough to be awarded one of the two positions on offer and had an incredible, eye opening experience which really drove home the importance of education and equality in respect to efficient production and food security particularly in our developing countries.

Conference at India

So many exciting things have happened for me in such a short time frame

With local women in India

Me with local women in India

Later in 2012 the Agricultural Societies Council of NSW opened up applications for Next Generation Delegates to attend the Royal Agricultural Societies Council of the Commonwealth Conference in Zambia, Africa. Once again I was shocked and exhilarated to be awarded a position and packed my bags to head to the most magical continent on earth, to mix with incredibly inspirational, passionate young professional from across the commonwealth, and many CEOs and experts of agricultural show movements, including HRH Princess Anne.

In Zambia with head of zambian delegates Matambula (4)

Being given the opportunity to visit these developing countries, talk to their producers and see their production processes was a great way to see firsthand how fortunate, but also unique we are in Australia, however more importantly that the global community is not suffering a lack of arable land and producers, but a lack of education, financial and infrastructural assistance and protective laws to ensure countries such as Zambia, sleeping powerhouses of production, are awakened to feed our growing population.

Feedlot in Zambia with Aus and Zambian delegates (3)

Visiting a feedlot in Zambia with other Australian and Zambain Delegates

When I am not travelling the world, or home on the farm, I am in Wagga Wagga finishing my degree at Charles Sturt University. I chose to attend CSU in Wagga as it was the closest uni to home that offered my degree and is still based in a primarily rural area so could still feel like home. Having neighbours less than a few kilometres away was something I struggled to get used to; I always thought someone was coming to my house if a car drove past! In December 2013 I will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Teaching (secondary) and have already signed a contract with the DET to be placed in a remote rural area where they require more teachers, so am looking forward to heading west for my next adventure.

 I firmly believe education is the key to ensuring the Australian agricultural industry is understood and supported by our urban cousins and I look forward to a career where I can achieve this, and then come home to the farm every evening.

Hannah has a wonderful dream lets hope Art4Agriculture and our sponsors can help her make it come true

Read Hannah’s Target 100 profile here

Follow Hannah on twitter @Miss_Barber