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.

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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:

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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

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Following us on Facebook here and Twitter here

#YouthVoices18 #ArchieAction #YouthinAg

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Youth off the streets and onto the farm

Using primary industries to reach and teach disadvantaged students is one benefit of The Archibull Prize.

Each year The Archibull Prize engages with a wide range of amazing students and teachers and this year The Lakes College (TLC) from the NSW Central Coast has partnered with Picture You in Agriculture, the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal and  Young Farming Champion Tim Eyes to study the beef industry.

TLC is a small alternate high school for Years 9 and 10 and is part of Father Chris Riley’s Youth Off The Streets program. The school only opened in 2017, which makes this Archibull journey extra special and with 5 staff members and 24 students everyone is involved.

“We like to view The Lakes College as a strong team who all support each other day to day. We are based in Blue Haven Community Centre. We are first and foremost students, but we also cook our breakfast, recess and lunch at school in our kitchens, make sure the place is clean, tend to our veggie garden and work and play on the brilliant sporting facilities our school so fortunately has around it.” Source TLC blog 

TLC are “Raising the Steaks” as they learn about the beef industry with their Archie and mentoring them is Young Farming Champion Tim Eyes. Tim is an agricultural contractor and co-founder (with his partner Hannah) of the successful Food Farm situated in Wyong Creek less than 10km from TLC. Tim and Hannah raise grass-fed beef, lamb, chicken, eggs and vegetables and regularly invite the public through the farm gate to see their sustainable brand of agriculture.

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Tim and Hannah

On July 2 the students of TLC found themselves amongst the animals of the Food Farm. They dug for potatoes, collected fresh eggs, picked oranges from the tree and milked Joyce the dairy cow. For Tim, who has entertained children both in mainstream schools and at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, hosting the TLC students was an enjoyable and eye-opening experience.

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“It was really refreshing having unfiltered, blunt questions – they were just very honest kids,” Tim says. “They had real questions about red meat and feeding people under the poverty line so we spoke about exploring the secondary cuts such as mince, which is accessible, diverse, and quick and easy to use.”

The potato patch proved particularly popular. “They spent probably half an hour there, digging potatoes and getting their hands dirty and thinking it was the most exhilarating thing, and that was so good to see,” Tim says. Indeed the wonder of the potato patch was commented on in the school’s blog with one student saying: “Potatoes grow in the ground – seeing that blew my socks off!”

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Another aspect of the visit that impressed Tim was some of the kids said they could see a future or a progression into a job with farming. “For them to even consider, for a split second, that maybe a career in agriculture was a good idea was pretty exciting; and it definitely made me think how the agricultural industry could have an effect on the poverty line and how it could employ people who wouldn’t have an opportunity otherwise.”

The Archibull journey of The Lakes College will be one to follow in 2018. “A lot of the students are quite artistic and I think they will be incredibly surprising on what they bring to the Archies,” Tim concludes.

You can read all about The Lakes College’s visit to The Food Farm here on their Archibull blog.

#YouthVoices18 #ArchieAction #YouthinAg

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Young Farming Champion Sam Coggins is paying it forward on an international scale

In 2017 Young Farming Champion Sam Coggins graduated from university in one of the most prosperous cities in the world, yet his focus is on the millions of farmers in developing countries. He has a passion to help them strengthen their scientific and technological capacity and move towards sustainable patterns of consumption and production.

“In 2014, approximately 805 million people in the world did not have enough food

 to lead a healthy, active life. That’s about one in nine people on Earth.

The vast majority of these people live in developing countries. Poor nutrition

is the underlying cause in nearly half (45%) of all deaths of children under

five years old – 3.1 million children each year. While all people have a

right to safe and nutritious food, this human right is denied to many.

Like other important resources, food is not equally distributed across the world.”

Source World Vision

With a degree in soil science from The University of Sydney Sam now works with The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), an organisation that commissions research for the benefit of farmers in developing countries and Australia.

I’m chipping in as graduate in ACIAR’s soils program. I get to work on meaningful

projects alongside highly capable and down-to-earth people.

I’m genuinely loving it.

Sam credits his parents for financially supporting him through university, which allowed him the time and freedom to follow his altruistic dreams for a better world. While at university he:

  • Mentored and tutored indigenous high school students through the AIME program.
  • Created the Food Wastage Fighters Society with the aims to reduce wastage and boost community awareness. The society won the ‘Best New Club’ award and has over 150 members.
  • Studied for a semester in Sri Lanka and interned at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines through the New Colombo Plan Scholarship and spoke on behalf of the 100 2016 New Colombo Plan scholars at the awards ceremony.
  • Participated in the Bayer Youth Ag Summit in Belgium as well as the Chicago Council Food Security Symposium in Washington DC.
  • Went through the University of Sydney Genesis startup incubator, which generated projects such as ChemCrush (which won Best Social Innovation) and RiseHarvest.

Sam’s many achievements at university (including participation in AFL, soccer and athletics) culminated in the awarding of the prestigious University of Sydney Convocation Medal in 2018:

“This medal is awarded to one person who, in the previous year, graduated or

completed the requirements for a bachelor’s degree, and who has achieved a

high standard of academic proficiency, contributed to the diverse life of the

University, and may also have contributed to the broader community.”

On winning the Convocation Medal Sam was more rewarded by the joy in his parents’ faces, for personal recognition is not as important to Sam as the work he is doing. His time in Sri Lanka, in particular, was a life-changing event for him and taught him great lessons that will guide his career well into the future:

“I tasted the unfairness of the world during my semester in Sri Lanka. I learned

that achievements in my life will always originate from opportunities I was

lucky to get. This lesson beat the arrogance out of me and made me

commit to a career contributing to a fairer world.”

That career is on a stellar trajectory. Sam, with two friends, is further developing RiseHarvest, a smartphone app designed to help Burmese farmers use nitrogen fertiliser more effectively. This project was selected from 800 teams from 160 countries in the Thought for Food Challenge and will allow Sam and his friends to pitch the idea at the TFF Summit, which takes place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in July 2018.

Though the accolades may flow, Sam Coggins will remain committed to his ideals of contributing to that fairer world through agricultural innovation.

Shoutout to our superstar journalist Mandy McKeesick for writing this story

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Youth Voices at LambEx

LambEx is an annual celebration of all things great in the Australian sheep and lamb industries and part of the celebration is the naming of finalists in the Young Guns competition.

The aim of the LambEx Young Guns Competition is to recognise and encourage

young and upcoming industry professionals, producers and scientists to

consider a future or ongoing career in the Australian lamb industry.

 

Deanna Johnston, our shearing YFC currently working in Longreach, was runner-up in this competition in 2014, and in 2018 we are proud to announce that another YFC, Danila Marini, is a finalist. Danila works in the field of animal (and in particular, sheep) welfare research:

To be named a Young Gun is exciting.

 I’m so glad to be given the chance to talk about the opportunities and the bright future

of the Australian Wool and sheepmeat industry. I think Young Guns is important

as it gives young people within the industry the ability to be involved

and learn new skills.

But it’s not only our YFC making waves as finalists. Hannah Haupt from Calvary Christian College in Brisbane was part of the Grand Champion Archibull Team in 2017, when the school studied the wool industry, and she is a finalist in the high school division.

Calvary Christian College (1)

But it’s not only our YFC making waves as finalists. Hannah Haupt from Calvary Christian College in Brisbane was part of the Grand Champion Archibull Team in 2017, when the school studied the wool industry, and she is a finalist in the high school division. Here’s what her teacher Lisa Bullas says about Hannah’s journey:

Hannah is a passionate agriculturalist and is highly involved with sheep in our

College show team (Suffolk Sheep). Her knowledge and understanding in one so

young is inspiring to those around her. 

 

Lisa also had this to say about The Archibull Prize:

As a part of show team, we work with the many contacts and actively involve our alumni students, who mentor our youngsters and open up opportunities/share knowledge that we simply can’t with our limited resources.  Being a part of The Archibull Prize has further enhanced some of these connections, providing opportunities that we could otherwise have missed. The capacity of the program to make connections between industry and education is a huge advantage.

When we survey our Young Farming Champions one of the key messages they send us is a desire to reach out and connect with someone who has walked in their shoes, to have a conversation with a peer or to be mentored. This is part of the Art4Agriculture vision, so it is very exciting for us to announce that Deanna will mentor Hannah and give her valuable insights into the Young Guns competition.

At LambEx, to be held in Perth from August 5-7, Danila and Hannah will make a four minute presentation to judges discussing their current role and potential future in the sheep and lamb industry. Good luck girls. We wish you both success.

Cheering them on from the sidelines will be Young Farming Champions Adele Offley and Chloe Dutschke travelling to Perth to ensure they are up-to-date with the opportunities for wool producers.

#YouthinAg #YouthVoices18 #LambEx

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_2017 Supporting partners Capture

 

Young Farming Champion Dr Jo Newton wins Victorian Changemakers Leadership Award

I have worked with some phenomenal young people in my life-time and I know how well deserved this acknowledgement of Jo Newton’s contribution to the empowerment of young people is.

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Dr Joanna Newton Winner Leadership Winner in Victorian Young Achiever Awards 

Jo was nominated for this award by her employer. When she asked me to be one of her referees, I thought how do you do some-one like Jo justice.

I have never met anyone so selfless and so team focused. Jo is a city girl who discovered agriculture at school and made it her career journey. Her passion is the science, her dedication is partnering with farmers to build the trust necessary to take the science out of lab and onto the farm. She spends every minute ruminating, consulting and planning how to make this happen

In her spare time she gives every minute to agricultural advocacy and supporting youth in agriculture.

If ever there was some-one who epitomised the word champion its Jo Newton.

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Jo said on accepting her award

In Australia less than 1 in 3 leadership positions are held by women. In agriculture its less than 1 in 7 leadership positions held by women so it is an incredible privilege to have my contributions to agriculture recognised here tonight.

Hard work, passion and determination can take you a long way, what I have learnt is the journey is much easier when you are supported by family, friends, colleagues and mentors along the way.    

Whilst young people like Jo may only  be 20% of the population,  they are 100% of the future.  Young people are in a unique position as they face the reality of an uncertain future but potentially they are best-placed 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. How do we work together to break down the barriers to Youth Voices?

To quote from a speech another Young Farming Champion gave at the Australian Farm Institute Conference in 2017

Investing in our youth will secure the future for Australian agriculture.

We can all invest in our youth

As an as an individual, you can identify enthusiastic young members of your industry.

Encourage them to tell their stories, to step up and do a leadership program, to become the voice for the future of their industry.

Invest in them.

Together we can ensure a bright future for Australian agriculture. Dione Howard AWI Young Farming Champion

Yes its that simple. Lets do it together

#YouthVoices18 #Youthinag

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Outback to the Future – enabling the next generation of landcarers

 

In a testament to the drive of young people within agriculture, our Young Farming Champion Anika Molesworth was one of the key organisers for a recent conference in the far west of NSW bringing climate change and technology together.

On May 12 approximately 50 people travelled to Fowler’s Gap, about an hour north of Broken Hill where Anika farms with her parents, to attend the seminar Outback to the Future. Held in conjunction with the University of New South Wales, the seminar brought together scientists, industry leaders, government representatives, graziers and the general public to discuss the future of these fragile arid lands.

“In the room, we had people from many different disciplines, different ages, from people who have careers studying life under microscopes, to people who spend long days in dusty sheep yards. What we all had in common was a fire in the belly to look after this land, and everyone in the room had unique perspectives and skills that brought value to the conversation. Our focus – how to best manage the fragile environment of the Far West into the future, so as to ensure sustainable farming businesses and vibrant and resilient rural communities.

With ten research organisations represented in the room, we asked the questions; What solutions are at hand? What solutions do we need to create? What research needs to be done, and what technology do we need to develop?

We started the morning session with the big picture. Our first two speakers set the scene with perspectives on research and technology  in Australian agriculture, and climate change. We then moved into livestock management and welfare, and the importance of looking after our natural resources for the benefit of our farming businesses. The afternoon sessions had a more personal perspective, as we heard from members of our community – from young members of the community in high-school, to seasoned graziers, and a university lecturer who brings Sydney students to the outback, some for the very first time. The discussions and viewpoints were varied and unique – bringing great value and depth to the seminar.” Anika Molesworth

In the spirit of collaboration another Young Farming Champion, Danila Marini from the University of New England, gave a presentation on virtual fencing and how it could be applied to the vast stations of western New South Wales using a system of smart collars and GPS coordinates. Danila has previously worked on pain relief methodology for sheep and is becoming well known for her animal welfare advocacy.

Another #youthinag highlight was the Landcare Youth Network ( see footnote) presentation with the speakers using no paper notes, preferring phone notes instead and talking about their hopes, their concerns, and the next generation of farmers.

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Kagen Pearce, Maggie Tavian and Chloe Roberts from the Landcare Youth Network 

Kagen spoke about the importance of educating youth and giving them the skills to thrive. He highlighted the importance of programs like the Youth Network.

Maggie told the audience of the importance of investing more time, money and research into the sustainable farming future of the Far West.

Chloe said we need more from our leaders, including scholarships and grants to develop the capabilities of land mangers and young people in the region.

All three said they were interested in a future owning land in the Far West region, and recognise the need to develop their own skills and knowledge, and promote a supportive local and regional community.

Anika’s take-home messages from the seminar were:

  • The importance of having research stations like Fowlers Gap in the Far West, where arid-zone research can take place and provide a fostering environment for learning and experimenting.
  • There is exciting research being undertaken and technology being developed nationally and internationally, which could be applied to farming systems in the region with a few tweaks, and we in the Far West need to demand that it is made accessible and affordable to land managers.
  • The importance in having seminars and discussions that include the voices and perceptions of people from many different disciplines, industry and ages, in order to promote collaboration and creative thinking.

Congratulations to Anika and Danila, two Young Farming Champions blazing paths in agriculture.

Footnote

The Western Landcare Youth Network is an annual program aimed at providing young people with a platform to explore a future in agriculture and the environment with access to skills training in these fields. The Network allows Far West youth to connect with each other and make a difference to their communities under the guidance and assistance of mentors. Students also make a difference to their communities by developing local environmental projects that they carry out. The three pillars of this group are; learning, developing and contributing.

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Wool Young Farming Champion Katherine Bain gets the Cow Girl experience in Canada

Our Young Farming Champions are finding a career in agriculture offers many opportunities and opens exciting doors.

A number of our Young Farming Champions are travelling overseas and blogging from far flung places

Today we hear from Katherine Bain who is ticking off  her ‘See how the World Farms’ bucket list on a cattle ranch in Canada

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 Katherine Bain with her dog, Pluto, on the family farm near Stockyard Hill in Victoria 

Hi everyone, my name is Katherine Bain, and I am a 2017 wool Young Farming Champion.   At the start of this month, I began an adventure I’ve had on my bucket list for as long as I could remember – to head to Canada and work on a cattle ranch!

The ranch is located in British Columbia, a province on the west side of Canada, in the Chilcoltin region. It’s a beautiful area surrounded by snow-capped mountains and tree-covered hills. So pretty much the opposite to the rolling grasslands I’m used to back home in in Victoria!

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The ranch is called Dane Ranch and is run by Cordy Cox-Ellis. It runs roughly 1000 cows and calves, 160 replacement heifers and 90 breeding bulls. They also produce hay  to feed their cattle in the winter. The ranch runs Angus cross cows which are usually 75% Angus, and 25% either Simmental or Gelbvieh. They cross black or red Gelbvieh or Simmental, or Charolais bulls onto the cows that are more Angus in type, and then Angus, SimAngus, or Gelbvieh Balancer bulls onto the cows that look more exotic in type. The ranch also has a small herd of purebred Angus and Gelbvieh cattle.

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They do a lot of work on horseback. This day we were moving cattle into a new paddock

Currently, we are in the middle of calving! There is lots to be done including checking the pens a couple of times a day to ensure all the calves are healthy, cleaning out the barn where sick or mis-mothered calves are kept, processing newborn calves and feeding cows. Processing is a similar process that we follow with our lambs.  The calves are generally processed a couple hours after being born, as it is important to know who the mother is, so they can trace the genetics and know where they go on the range during the summer months. This is a similar process to how I ran my Coopworth Sheep Stud, to make sure we can follow the genetics and assess which ewes are the best breeders.

Processing allows Dane Ranch to inspect each animal and assess their overall health, vaccinate them and attach identification tags. They get two tags – an RFID tag and a large number tag to link it to its mother. The cross bred bull calves are castrated

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Tagging the calves – they do grow into their tags!!!

Processing can be like doing a puzzle as we have to work out which calf goes with which cow. Often the calves are sleeping while their mums are off eating, so we have to wait until they are back together to be certain we don’t make any mistakes.  Because of all the snow on the ground during winter, the cows are calved down in smaller paddocks and “containment” pens. This is to make it easier to check them throughout calving and for feeding them.

There is no grass yet, so they  get fed hay and have salt licks and mineral tubs to ensure they have a balanced diet. The snow is almost all gone now, so they will soon be put back out to bigger paddocks with fresh grass before going up onto the range!

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Feeding the cows

My jobs at the moment are mostly helping in the barn. My day starts with feeding and watering any cows in the barn and in the small pens. The water has to be refilled with a hose as the pipes freeze! The main troughs have heated pads and insulation to keep them going  throughout the very cold winters. The temperature in the winter can go as low as minus 35 Celsius with an average from December 1st to March 31st around minus 13 Celsius !!!. Thanks goodness we don’t have to worry about this at home

After feeding I help treat any calves that are unwell.  Its very important to watch them closely to ensure they don’t get scours which can lead to dehydration. Dehydration is treated with electrolytes and antibiotics if necessary.

So far working on the ranch has been pretty different to working on my sheep farm back home. Dealing with the freezing weather and snow means that extra care and planning needs to be done well before Winter sets in – mainly ensuring they will have enough hay to see them through! Learning to work with cattle has so far been an awesome experience, but I’ve got a long way to go to become a “cowgirl”!

In the coming month calving will finish and the next big thing will be branding and moving cattle onto the range. So stay tuned for the next instalment!

_2017 Supporting partners Capture