If you were an Australian farmer what would you grow?

Australia is the hottest, driest inhabited continent. So dry 35% of our landscape is classified as desert

If Twitter is a benchmark, there is no shortage of people with opinions on what we should not grow

I am the program designer of an initiative that is building a smarter agriculture sector through the next generation.

We see people as agriculture’s greatest resource and our programs are supporting agriculture’s succession plan by:

  1. Identifying and training agriculture’s emerging leaders who we call Young Farming Champions. We provide our Young Farming Champions with a smorgasbord of opportunities to apply what they learn and multiply their impact.
  2. Attracting the best and the brightest to the agriculture sector through our in-school programs. The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas

Our work with schools has shown us that young Australians are highly capable of solving tomorrows problems today. In 2020 the foundation principle  of The Archibull Prize model is inviting students to identify agricultural issues important to them and their region, spend three to six months doing a deep dive into their identified issue and putting their solution forward to our judges in the form of a Sustainability Action Project report and as an artwork.

Part of our organisation’s commitment to the students and teachers is to collate the latest research on their area of investigation and connect them with experts in the field

Agriculture can be incredibly grateful for the gaps in documented research the student’s area of investigations have highlighted in 2020. The big one being peri-urban agriculture.  Australia is the most urbanised country in the world. 89% of Australians live in our cities.   Most of those urban areas are located on our most productive soils and it appears no-one has done a significant body of research on how we can support dairy farming on our urban fringes.

The other interesting topic that is proving challenging for me is Regenerative Agriculture. It is a term that means everything and nothing. It is a farming concept all farmers aspire to. Everyone wants to build organic matter and water holding capacity in their soils. It is not new. Once Australian farmers realised that European farming principles did not suit our fragile soils our farmers have been looking for better ways to farm. There is no one size fits all. To learn from the experts and each other ( 9 out of 10 farmers learn from each other) our leading farmers come together in producer groups across the country

To show the students the diversity of farming systems and landscapes and how farmers are learning from each other and experts I invited farmers to share with me the Best in the Business Grass Roots organisations (with websites) they belong to.  Here is my work in progress list

Sustainable Farming Systems for High Rainfall Areas http://www.sfs.org.au/
Vic No Till Farming Group https://www.vicnotill.com.au/
Birchup Cropping Group https://www.bcg.org.au/
South Australian no till farmers https://www.santfa.com.au/
Hart Group http://www.hartfieldsite.org.au/
Central West Farming Systems http://cwfs.org.au/
Mallee Sustainable Farming https://msfp.org.au/about/our-organisation/
Grower Group Alliance http://gga.org.au/about-the-grower-group-alliance2/
Best Wool Best Lamb https://agriculture.vic.gov.au/support-and-resources/networks/bestwoolbestlamb
Leading Sheep http://www.leadingsheep.com.au/
MerinoLink http://www.merinolink.com.au/
FarmLink http://www.farmlink.com.au/
AgZero2030* https://agzero2030.org.au/
PrecisionAgAus https://spaa.com.au/
Irrigated Cropping Council https://irrigatedcroppingcouncil.com.au/
Riverine Plains Inc https://riverineplains.org.au/
Partners in Grain Q http://www.partnersingrain.org.au/
Stirlings to Coast Farmers https://www.scfarmers.org.au/

Check them out.

You will be proud of what Australia farmers are aspiring to achieve

* AgZero2030 classify themselves as an agriculture sector-led movement progressing climate solutions

Author: Lynne Strong

I am a 6th generation farmer who loves surrounding myself with optimistic, courageous people who believe in inclusion, diversity and equality and embrace the power of collaboration. I am the founder of Picture You in Agriculture. Our team design and deliver programs that inspire pride in Australian agriculture and support young people to thrive in business and life