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

_2017 Supporting partners Capture

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.

_2017 Supporting partners Capture

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

 

 

The Archibull Prize Stampedes into Schools

Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, tasking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes and having fun

The Archibull Prize was officially launched in 2010 with this magnificent display by Wendy and Craig Taylor of  Red Blue Architecture + Design   

 

Now its its ninth year The Archibull Prize will see life-size fibreglass cows stampede into over 30 schools across New South Wales and Queensland

Conceived by the team at Picture You in Agriculture, The Archibull Prize is an annual program designed to give young people the skills to connect farmers and the community and to co-create a bright future for Australian agriculture. Armed with a life-sized fibreglass cow (or calf) and a paint kit, students will have the opportunity to research a specific agricultural industry and present their findings in art form. Multiple cash prizes, up to $1,000, are up for grabs as well as the coveted title of Grand Champion Archibull. Learn more on The Archibull Prize website.

Schools will be studying either  the wool, dairy, cotton, beef, eggs, horticulture or pork industry and along with their creative Archie students will develop multi-media presentations and explore issues such as biosecurity, climate change, water use and renewable energy. Assisting them on their journey will be a Young Farming Champion who works  in their allocated farming industry

The Archibull Prize continues to influence how Australian agriculture is perceived.

“As consumers, understanding where our, food, clothing and power comes from will inform decision-making and encourage leadership that benefits the community and the producers when providing sustainable agriculture and resource management for our future needs,” said a teacher from the 2017 competition. “The Archibull Prize allows students to demonstrate decision making and leadership skills by planning, organising and making a visually exciting object and digital media project and presenting it to the school and wider community.”

The theme for the 2018 Archibull Prize is ‘Feeding, Clothing and Powering a Hungry Nation is a Shared Responsibility’. Archies  must be completed by September 20 and the Awards Ceremony will be held in Sydney on November 20.

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Parramatta Public School super excited to be participating in The Archibull Prize 2018 for the first time

The 2018 Archibull Prize is proud to have supporting partners in Aussie Farmers Foundation, Cotton Australia, Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC), NSW Department of Primary Industries, NSW Local Land Services, Royal Agricultural Society of NSW and the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal.

_2017 Supporting partners Capture

Closing the gender gap in agriculture to promote STEM careers

Young Farming Champion Emma Ayliffe is presenting at the PIEFA Conference in Canberra today.  As a young person working in Agriculture Emma knows how exciting it is and loves to spread the word to all the young people she meets in schools. Emma’s presentation looks at the elephant in the room –  industry image.

This is what Emma will share with the audience ………….

The future of our world starts off in the classroom today.

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 agriculture. Why is that?

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

Sadly Agriculture has a reputation as the King of Gender Inequality.

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With statistics like these we can see why

  • For 100 years Australia’s agricultural secondary and tertiary colleges were MEN ONLY
  • It wasn’t till the 1970’s that they opened the door to women
  • It took until 2003 for the ratio of men to women studying agriculture at university to become 1:1
  • Whilst women now generate 49% of on-farm income they earn 8% less than men

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  • Women only hold 13% of industry leadership roles (compared to 28% across other industries) .
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  • In fact farming decision-making bodies have been described as “closed social networks” with men over 35 years still the most likely to be elected to boards, despite 40 per cent of Australian farmers being women, with an average incidence of tertiary education that is double that of men. An industry with a men’s club mindset.
  • Agriculture STILL has the least gender diverse board rooms with only 2.3% of women in CEO positions compared to 17% in other industries.

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  • It wasn’t till 1994 the Australian Law Reform Commission reviewed farm women’s legal status and finally defined them as “farmers” instead of
    • Domestics
    • Helpmates or
    • Farmer’s wives

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My name is Emma Ayliffe and I am 26 years old

I am VERY proud to say I am a member of a group of young people changing the face, image and gender diversity of agriculture

As you will have noticed I am female

What you might not know is I am

  • a farmer,
  • an agronomist,
  • a business owner and
  • a Young Farming Champion

I also sit on

  • The Southern Valley Cotton Growers Association Committee
  • Australian Cotton Conference Youth Committee
  • The Irrigation Research and Extension Leadership Group
  • And I am the Vice-Chair of the Youth Voices Leadership Team

As a Young Farming Champion, I go into schools as part of the project-based learning program The Archibull Prize. The Archibull Prize has gained the awesome reputation as being the Queen of Gender Equality

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My role as a Young Farming Champion in schools is to share my career journey in agriculture and inspire others (both men and women) to follow in my footsteps

Like me, many of our Young Farming Champions have STEM based careers.

As part of my agronomy business I am involved in crop research trials and conduct research myself. We test new and evolving farm technology including automation and advanced crop managements and many other areas of agricultural STEM.

AGRICULTURE HAS A LOT OF WORK TO DO TO CHANGE THE IMAGE OF CAREERS IN OUR SECTOR

As you can see from this word cloud from The Archibull Prize entry survey at the beginning of the program young people in schools struggle to identify careers in the sector beyond farming related activities. This is despite 82% of careers in agriculture supporting farmers both behind and beyond the farm gate.

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Talking about agricultural careers to teenagers in conjunction with The Archibull Prize comes at an opportune time as students make crucial decisions on their educational future.

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 agriculture.

To have young farming professionals share their experiences only makes the decisions better informed and raises excitement about STEM-based careers.

A key hook for both teachers and students is the innovation, science and technology that drives 21st century farming.

The Archibull Prize exit survey highlights the success of this approach

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 like agronomist, vet, engineer, scientist, geneticist.

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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 that THEY would consider.

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The full extent as to the endless opportunities and career options cannot be described in the short 5 minutes that I have here today but working with students participating in the Archibull Prize for SEVEN months in schools allows them to immerse themselves in every aspect of the farming industry as they study and explore ALL of the exciting career options.

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Women (like me) are key agents of change and innovation and offer significant leadership in sustainability, food security, rural communities, natural disasters and policymaking.

If we are going to have a profitable, productive, resilient and sustainable agriculture industry into the future the sector must been viewed as a career of first choice that promotes gender equality.

Young people are doing amazing things in agriculture – both young men and young women – we have a chance to model gender equity to the next generation when going into schools

The Archibull Prize model shows how far we have come.

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We invite you all to join us in The Archibull Prize to create a future where men and women work together as partners on farms and on boards and where the conversation is no longer about gender, but how we are building a better agricultural future for Australia.

Watch Emma talk about her career journey at the Sydney Royal Easter Show Secondary School Careers Workshop

 

 

 

 

Growing excitement about STEM careers in agriculture

One of the things that excites us about careers in agriculture is the opportunities available for young people to learn and grow and travel and travel to help others learn and grow

A great example is Young Farming Champion and Youth Voices Leadership Team member Laura Phelps who is currently a policy officer with the Department of Agriculture in Canberra has landed herself a job working with the British government on their BREXIT strategy. We look forward to Laura sharing her UK sojourn highlights with us.

Laura’s departure to the other end of the globe meant an early visit to her Archibull Prize school and she was wax lyrical about her visit to The Henry Lawson High School who are studying the pork industry in 2018

You don’t need to have an agricultural science degree to be excited about agriculture – that was the message Young Farming Champion Laura Phelps took to Years 9 and 10 students at Grenfell’s Henry Lawson High School recently. Laura was at the school as part of the 2018 Archibull Prize, where she introduced students and staff to the pork industry and the plethora of STEM careers available in agriculture.

“There are so many opportunities for STEM-based careers within the pork industry,” Laura said. “Ag-engineering, mechanical engineering, nutrition, biology, medicine etc. and it was great to see the kids already had a good appreciation of this. But what they were really interested in was bacteria and antibiotics and the role farmers play as antibiotic stewards and how pigs can create new antibiotics for us.”

Laura was “blown away” by the teachers at Henry Lawson High School and their approach to The Archibull Prize, incorporating high-level biology and chemical technology. As the school is in an agricultural zone many of the students already had a good understanding of agriculture and how this technology can be applied, but Laura found most students thought a career in agriculture involved doing an ag-science degree.

“Agriculture is reliant on a cross-pollination of degrees using a diverse set of skills and knowledge,” Laura said. “I was able to show the students that many other degrees have applications in agriculture, for example, engineering and chemistry. You don’t need an agricultural science degree to get excited about agriculture.”

Many of the students had strong ideas about their future careers with some wishing to be agronomists and one hoping to develop agricultural apps. “He can see all the smart-farm technology that is happening in the United States and he wants to be able to build it himself,” Laura said.

Talking about agricultural careers to teenagers in conjunction with The Archibull Prize comes at an opportune time as students make crucial decisions on their educational future. To have a young farming professional such as Laura Phelps share her experiences only makes the decisions better informed, and raises excitement about STEM-based careers.

_2017 Supporting partners Capture

Youth Voices Matter

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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.

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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