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.

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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.

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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

Even more from day 1

Muirfield High School

‘”T bone” was very definitely a member of the beef industry (and had a name…yay!)

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A detailed story is told as you move around the cow –from grazing, to processing

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and then to the end products

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and meat on the barbie (literally!)

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Her head has a conversation with farmers through Twitter

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and AgChatoz

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while her high-tech collar (with its own satellite) speaks of cutting edge farming practices and the future.

Young Farming Champions hit the road running

The 2012 Young Farming Champions spent last weekend at Clover Hill Dairies  in Jamberoo undergoing rigorous training to ensure that their school partnerships achieve the best outcomes for the student and farmer participants. They received coaching on how to craft a message so that it is remembered, how to connect with the audience, how to cope with nerves, to making a multimedia presentation, and how to prepare for and answer difficult questions.

This year the Art4agriculture Young Farming Champions will represent the Cattle and Sheep, Cotton, Wool and Dairy industries courtesy of Target 100, Cotton Australia, Australian Wool Innovation and Pauls Milk 

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The workshop was conducted by the delightful genius that is Ann Burbrook

The YFC’s enjoyed hearing anecdotes from both previous YFCs, last year’s school students and their teachers showing what an impact this program can have. From raising awareness of food and fibre production and consumption, to increasing the number of students studying agriculture, as well as challenging stereotypes and setting students on a new career path into the agrifood sector.

Lunch of Champions

Table of champions

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Stephanie Tarlinton YFC alumni and dairy ambassador was on hand to share her 2011 YFC journey with the inductees.  Stephanie’s  “Farm Girls Wear Shoes too” video was quite a hit with the students and the new YFC’s

YFC workshop

Stephanie Tarlinton presents to 2012 YFC’s

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There were food for thought moments for Wool YFC Sammi Townsend

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Pensive moments for Dairy YFC Jess Monteith

“ Wow what a wonderful weekend it was. I was able to learn about other key rural industries to broaden my knowledge and in a sense make me even more passionate about Australian Agriculture and the YFC cause!” said Jess

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Plenty of light moments for Beef YFC Madie Hamilton

Beef Young Farming Champion, Madie Hamilton from Mudgee in NSW was exhausted, but excited at the end of the workshop. “The YFC program is a way for me to give back to an industry that has given me so much. I hope I can entice more people to work in any part of the agricultural industry”

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Beef YFC and Ask an Aussie Farmer creator Kylie Stretton enjoyed her first trip to Sydney.

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Cotton YFC Katie Broughton is doing a PhD researching the potential effects of climate change on the Australian cotton industry. Katie is proud her jeans come from the highest quality cotton in the world and is keen to make it is as easy as possible for our Aussie farmers to keep producing it sustainably    

“It is incredible to work with such a diverse group of young Australians promoting agriculture. The enthusiasm within the group is infectious, and I am excited to be part of a program that is linking people in rural and urban communities.” said Katie

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Our young male dairy YFC Tom Pearce handled the all female company extremely well. He tells me growing up with 3 sisters has given him plenty of insights into the female psyche.But he admits he is looking forward to Sam Adams and Billy Browning joining him next time.

“I’m looking forward to presenting my story to a classroom full of interested young adults and hope to inspire a few to seek opportunities outside of the city.” said Tom

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The launch of this fantastic new resource from Cotton Australia

“How to grow a pair of jeans”

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Katie Broughton and Tamsin Quirk Cotton YFC’s with Sophie Davidson from Cotton Australia

“The weekend confirmed for all participants, that they do have a unique story, that they do have something important to say and that they are in a unique position to say it! These young people already have a flame, they already have a voice and they already have a purpose. This weekend gave them the tools they need to realise that purpose”. said Sophie Davidson from Cotton Australia who joined the YFC’s this weekend

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Beef YFC’s Madie Hamilton, Hayley Piggott and Kylie Stretton (front)

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Dairy YFC’s Jess Monteith and Tom Pearce

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Wool YFC’s Lauren Crothers, Sammi Townsend and Wool YFC Ambassador Kathleen Allan

Wool Young Farming Champion, Lauren Crothers from Dirranbandi in Queensland said the weekend was one of the most enjoyable she has had this year. “It provided the opportunity to meet with like minded individuals who share a common interest, inspiring the people of Australia and encouraging them to be part of the amazing Agricultural Industry.”

The Young Farming Champions are now working on their videos and industry presentations prior to meeting again in August to review their progress. They will visit their allocated schools in metropolitan Sydney and Brisbane in September this year.

The 2012 Young Farming Champions are:

  • Kylie Stretton, Charters Towers, QLD – Beef Industry
  • Hayley Piggott, Rolleston, QLD – Beef Industry
  • Madeleine Hamilton, Sydney, NSW – Beef & Sheep Industry
  • Billy Browning, Narromine, NSW – Cotton Industry
  • Katie Broughton, Narrabri, NSW – Cotton Industry
  • Tamsin Quirk, Moree, NSW – Cotton Industry
  • Jessica Monteith, Berry, NSW – Dairy Industry
  • Tom Pearce, Bega, NSW – Dairy Industry
  • Lauren Crothers, Dirranbandi, QLD – Wool Industry
  • Kathleen Allan, Yass, NSW – Wool Industry
  • Sammi Townsend, Lyndhurst, NSW – Wool Industry
  • Samuel Adams, Armidale, NSW – Wool Industry
  • Bronwyn Roberts, Emerald QLD – Natural Resource Management /Beef
  • Stephanie Fowler, Richmond NSW – Beef

Our 2012 Art4agriculture Ambassadors are

  • Catherine Marriott, Perth, WA – Beef Industry
  • Melissa Henry, Boorowa, NSW – Wool Industry
  • Kathleen Allan, Yass, NSW – Wool Industry

We have had lots of superb YFC applicants this year and hope to invite some of them to join the program next year. If your industry would like to invest in its young people and sponsor a Young Farming Champion send me an email I would love to talk to you lynnestrong@art4agriculture.com.au 

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NSW – the faces of the future