What does it take to reach 18 million people with your story

Farmers in this country are less than 1% of the population and number 10 on Reader’s Digest most trusted professions list.

Above us are ambulance officers, doctors, nurses , pharmacists and fireman. Why is this you ask?. The answer is easy. If you are an ambulance officer, a doctor, a nurse, a pharmacist or a fireman there would be a time in most people’s lives when they would be reminded just how important their profession is.

With food in abundance in this country there is little opportunity to remind the community just how important our farmers are.

I recently had the pleasure of sharing the podium with Michael Trant at the Agconnect conference in WA two weeks ago. Michael Trant for those of you who don’t know him is the very passionate sheep farmer behind the #Hadagutful campaign

The conference was attended by WA’s most passionate young people in agriculture. Young, enthusiastic, dynamic people determined to carve out a future for themselves and their peers in agriculture in this country and bursting at the seams to be heard.

Advocacy was a hot topic and number 1 on their list of big ticket issues that must be addressed if we are going to have the dynamic, innovative, exciting and profitable agrifood sector we all crave.

As is the norm with young people there was quite a lot of admiration in the room  for the French farmers model. A model we all know that involves quite a lot of militant tactics.

It was Michael Trant’s response that I believe most resonated with the audience. Michael recently had a one on one meeting with Federal Agriculture Minister Senator Joe Ludwig to discuss and hopefully find a solution to that wicked problem Live Export. A meeting which at the time was recorded as quite hostile in the media.

Michael told the people in the room that he listened very closely to what Joe Ludwig had to say and he gave these wonderful young people in the room the same sage advice.

“We can do things that will piss people off like dump wheat on the docks at Freemantle or I can let rams loose in Kings Park or we can come up with campaigns that actually resonate and generate empathy and understanding with the 18 million people on the Eastern seaboard.

I agree and so should all farmers but farmers telling their story and having two way conversations with the most important people and the white elephant in the room otherwise know as consumers and voters is not something farmers in general have the skill sets or expertise for. In the past we have let anti animal livestock lobbyists tell our story and that has been a disaster of momentous proportions and it is one of the key reasons why agriculture is currently on its knees in this country.

So how do fix this. We can do it. I know because I have found the successful model and I am going to share it with you over the next 12 months. Like any idea its not the concept but the people who make it work and for agriculture it will be our young people. They are out there. I have a whole cohort of them in Art4Agriculture’s Young Farming Champions program. Our Young Farming Champions are now working side by side with our Young Eco Champions to tell agriculture’s story in a way that DOES resonate with the 18 million people on the Eastern seaboard.

Like most farmers (and like me) not all these young people were born these skills sets and expertise. They need to be identified, engaged and nurtured and supported every step of the way. It is imperative we invest in them  I know this because this is my journey to where I am today and I relive it though them by sharing my learnings, positive and negative, by introducing them to the wonderful people who support and nurture me.

I am using Art4Agriculture as the vehicle to introduce them to the people who can supply them with the necessary skills sets to deliver on behalf of industry. I introduce them to supportive industries, the key influencers, to the doers and most importantly I introduce them to the most important people in the room, the people who give agriculture its social license to operate and they are the people who buy our goods and services and the people who vote

What does it take to have young people who can talk like this, who can inspire other young people to follow in their footsteps. What does it take for our young people to be the change that agriculture so needs to have?.

I have the formula and the results speak for themselves?. Listen to the video. Follow their journey

THE 2012 YOUNG FARMING CHAMPIONS

BEEF

Sponsored by Meat and Livestock Australia Target 100 program


Stephanie Fowler
Wagga Wagga, NSW

Steph grew up on the Central Coast of New South Wales in a small coastal suburb, Green Point. A decision to study agriculture in high school created a passion for showing cattle and in 2012 she started a PhD in Meat and Livestock Science, with a project that is looking at the potential of Raman Spectroscopy in predicting meat quality.

“When I was growing up I never dreamed that I would end up joining an incredibly rewarding, innovative and exciting industry that would take me across the country and around the world.”

Read Steph’s Blog post HERE

View her video HERE


Bronwyn Roberts
Emerald, QLD

Bronwyn is a Grazing Land Management Officer with the Fitzroy Basin Association. Her family has a long association with the cattle industry in Queensland and her parents currently run a 5500 acre cattle property near Capella.

“I believe consumers have lost touch of how and where their food and fibre is produced. In these current times where agriculture is competing with other industry for land use, labour, funding and services, it is important that we have a strong network of consumers who support the industry and accept our social license as the trusted and sustainable option.”

Read Bronwyn’s Blog post HERE

View her video HERE


Kylie Stretton
Charters Towers, QLD

Kylie Stretton and her husband have a livestock business in Northern Queensland, where they also run Brahman cattle. Kylie is the co-creator of “Ask An Aussie Farmer” a social media hub for people to engage with farmers and learn about food and fibre production.

“The industry has advanced from the images of “Farmer Joe” in the dusty paddock to images of young men and women from diverse backgrounds working in a variety of professions. Images now range from a hands-on job in the dusty red centre to an office job in inner city Sydney. So many opportunities, so many choices.”

Read Kylie’s Blog post HERE

View her video HERE


COTTON

Sponsored by Cotton Australia


Tamsin Quirk
Moree, NSW

Tamsin grew up in Moree but is not from a farm. An enthusiastic teacher at high school who encouraged the students to better understand the natural world sparked Tamsin’s interest in agriculture. She is now studying agricultural science at the University of New England.

“Growing up in Moree has shown me is how important it is to have young people in the industry with a fiery passion and a desire to educate those who aren’t fully aware of the valuable role our farmers play in feeding and clothing not only Australians but many other people around the world.”

Read Tamsin’s Blog post HERE

View her video HERE


Richard Quigley
Trangie, NSW

Richie is a fifth-generation farmer at Trangie in central-western NSW. He is currently studying a Bachelor of Agricultural Science at the University of Sydney and in the long term, intends to return to the family farm, a 6000-hectare mixed-cropping, cotton and livestock operation.

“It’s fantastic to help people understand how their food and fibre is produced and to represent the agricultural industry. Most of the students I talked to are from the city so they haven’t been exposed to agriculture on the kind of scale we work on.”

Read Richie’s Blog post HERE

View his video HERE


DAIRY

Sponsored by Pauls


Jessica Monteith
Berry, NSW

Jess was introduced to the dairy industry by a childhood friend whose parents owned a dairy farm. She is currently undertaking a Traineeship in Financial services through Horizon Credit Union while completing full time study for a double degree in Agricultural Science and Agribusiness Finance through Charles Sturt University.

“I am hoping to follow a career path in finance related to and working one-on-one with our farmers to develop their industries and operations to work to full capacity as well as continuing to work with the next generation. The fact that I don’t come from a farming background helps show that exciting agriculture related careers and opportunities are available to everyone.”

Read Jess’ blog post HERE

View her video HERE


Tom Pearce
Bega, NSW

Tom is a fourth generation dairy farmer from Bega and is actively involved in a range of industry activities including Holstein Australia Youth Committee and the National All Dairy Breeds Youth Camp.

“The fact is there is a fair majority of the population that doesn’t realise how their food gets from paddock to plate. If we want agricultural production to double over the next 30 years to feed the predicted 9 Billion people we have a big task ahead of us. This will require farmers and communities working cooperatively for mutual benefit.”

Read Tom’s blog post HERE

View his video HERE


WOOL

Sponsored by Australian Wool Innovation


Lauren Crothers
Dirranbandi, QLD

Lauren is passionate about the wool industry and spent her gap year on a remote sheep station in Western NSW increasing her hands-on knowledge. Lauren is now studying a Bachelor of Agribusiness at the University of Queensland.

“Every family needs a farmer. No matter who you are, your gender, your background or where you live you can become involved in this amazing industry.”

Read Lauren’s blog post HERE

View her video HERE


Stephanie Grills
Armidale, NSW

Steph Grills’ family has been farming in the New England Tablelands since 1881 and the original family farm remains in the family to this day. Steph is combining a career on the farm with her four sisters with a Bachelor of Livestock Science at the University of New England.

“I believe the future for Australian agriculture will be very bright. I am excited to be part of an innovative industry that is leading the world in technology and adapting it on a practical level. I’m very proud to say that Agriculture has been passed down over nine known generations and spans over three centuries just in my family. My hope is that this continues, and that the future generations can be just as proud as I am that they grow world-class food and fibre. I also hope by sharing my story I can inspire other young people to follow me into an agricultural career.”

Read Steph’s Blog post HERE

View her video HERE


Samantha Townsend
Lyndhurst, NSW

Sammi is passionate about encouraging young people to explore careers in agriculture and has a website and blogwww.youthinagtionaustralia.com where she showcases the diversity of opportunities. In 2012 Sammi commenced studying Agricultural Business Management at Charles Sturt University in Orange.

“I have found that being an Art4Ag YFC has helped my University this year. This was my first year at University and my first time out there and finding my feet. Taking on this role helped give me a lot of confidence and it has also broadened my own knowledge about my own industry. It is amazing how many things you take for granted until you have to tell someone about them! I was elected President of the Ag Club at Uni in the middle of the year and it is a role I thought I never would have had the confidence to take on. With the opportunities I have been given this year through Art4Ag, I have a new-found confidence to have a go at tackling anything.”

Read Sammi’s Blog post HERE

View her video HERE

Listen to their videos on YouTube

YFC ON YOUTUBE
(Click headings to watch on YouTube)

2012 COTTON YOUNG FARMING CHAMPIONS

Richie Quigley

The Richie Quigley Story

Richie Quigley Interview students from De La Salle College

James Ruse Agricultural High School talks Richie Quigley at MCLEMOI Gallery

Laura Bunting Winmalee High School Student talks about Richie Quigley

Tamsin Quirk

The Tamsin Quirk story

YFC Tamsin Quirk and Lady Moo Moo telling the story of jeans


2012 WOOL YOUNG FARMING CHAMPIONS

Sammi Townsend

The Sammi Townsend Story

YFC Sammi Townsend talks Wool at the Ekka

Teacher Steve Shilling talks about Sammi Townsend Visit to Camden Haven High School

Lauren Crothers

The Lauren Crothers story

Lauren talks to professional shearer Hayden at the Ekka

Stephanie Grills

The Steph Grills story

YFC Steph Grills talks Herefords at the Ekka

YFC Stephanie Grills talks to students from Macarthur Anglican College

YFC Stephanie Grills talks to discovery ranger Kathy Thomas about Potoroos

YFC Steph Grills talks to discovery ranger Kathy Thomas about monitoring Potoroos


2012 BEEF YOUNG FARMING CHAMPIONS

Bronwyn Roberts

The Bronwyn Roberts Story

YFC Bronwyn Roberts talks beef at the Ekka

YFC Bronwyn Roberts talks to teacher Simone Neville at Archibull Prize Awards

YFC Bronwyn Roberts talks to the students at Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College at the Archibull Prize Awards ceremony

YFC Bronwyn Roberts talks to Bush Revegetator Chris Post

Stephanie Fowler

The Stephanie Fowler Story

Stephanie Fowler talks meat and muscle at the Ekka

YFC Steph Fowler talks to students from Shoalhaven High School at the Archibull Prize Awards

Stephanie Fowler talks to Dean Turner from The Crossing

YFC Steph Fowler interviews students from Muirfield High School about the Paddock to Plate story

Steph Fowler finds out why the Girl Guides Exhibit at the Ekka

Kylie Stretton

The Kylie Stretton story

YFC Kylie Stretton talks Brahman Beef at The EKKA

Kylie Stretton talks to students from Hills Adventist College

Teacher Trisha Lee talks about Kylie Stretton visiting St Michaels Catholic School


DAIRY YOUNG FARMING CHAMPIONS

Tom Pearce

The Tom Pearce Story

Tom Pearce talking Breeds of Dairy Cattle at the Ekka

Tom Pearce at the Ekka – Cattle Show Clipping

Tom Pearce at the Ekka – Cattle Showing

Jess Monteith

The Jessica Monteith Story

YFC Jess Monteith reporting from Clover Hill Dairies

Jess Monteith at the Ekka

Tara Sciberras talks about Jess Monteith

 

I have thousands of examples like these and write a blogs that share their story viewed by over 100,000 people in 24 countries.

These are currently our government, industry and community partners who have faith in them and invest in them. Is your industry body there

Sponsors Archibull Prize

Who else wants to be on the winning side? We don’t have an eight figure budget and we don’t need one. We can give farmers the best return on investment in the shortest turnaround time our industry bodies can only dream about. If you share the vision you can show your support by lobbying your industry body to join the Art4Agriculture team and they can contact me at lynnestrong@art4agriculture.com.au. Its that easy

Bringing Arthur Boyd’s vision to life

I just love working with bright young minds who grab life with both hands and run with it. Rachel Walker is one of those young people

I have reblogged this from Art4AgriculutureChat as I am confident Rachel’s journey will inspire you just as much as it does me

Background

Art4Agriculture’s Young Eco Champions have each identified a farmer they want to work side by side with to get best environmental outcomes for Australia’s natural resources 226A5485.JPG.Still001_HIres

Art4Agriculutre Young Eco Champions (right) with some of our Young Farming Champions and members of the Art4Agriculture network

We were very excited to have the opportunity to pair Rachel Walker with Bundanon Trust.

Rachel’s shares this wonderful opportunity with you today through her guest blog post …

Bringing Arthur Boyd’s vision to life – by Rachel Walker

As a Young person with a love for Australia’s wonderful landscapes and a deep respect of how scarce our natural resources are and the opportunity that young people have to pay an active role in protecting and enhancing them

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Rachel left participating in a Face to Camera to camera workshop at a recent Young Farming Champions/Young Eco Champions workshop 

I also believe that Australia can play an integral role on a global scale by setting good examples in the management of our scarce resources.

I have learnt that the majority of the Australian landscape and its resources, are managed by our farmers, and much of that includes privately owned areas of native bushland. Hence our farmers also have a very important environmental role to play

As a Young Eco Champion, I have been able to spend some time with the Bundanon Trust in the Shoalhaven. The trust has the unique challenge of rehabilitating and maintaining a large area of native bushland as part of Arthur Boyd’s gift to the Australian people.

The 1,100 ha of river front land was generously left to the people of Australia in 1993, by renowned Australian artist, Arthur Boyd, and featured in much of his artwork. Since the gift the properties have been under the care of the Bundanon Trust, which has preserved the natural and cultural heritage, and developed a fantastic artistic educational experience that is adaptable and applicable to all levels of knowledge. It hosts school children year-round, as well as artists in residence

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The Riversdale Property regularly hosts workshops for young people

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As well as guests from all over the world who see views to die for

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and enjoy fine Shoalhaven Produce prepared by local chefs

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Including local wines

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And beef grazed on the property

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On Friday I was fortunate enough to be taken on a personal tour of the four properties that together form the Bundanon Trust. A stipulation of the bequest was that Bundanon was to always remain a working property in some capacity, and to be accessible to the people of Australia. Today the properties have reduced their beef cattle production in favour of restoring native forest, a tribute to the inspiration in many of Arthur Boyd’s artworks.

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Arthur Boyd, Peter’s fish and crucifixion, 1993 Copyright Bundanon Trust Reproduced with permission of Bundanon Trust 1993

 

During my visit to Bundanon, Riversdale and Eearie Park it became apparent to me what a fantastic job the Bundanon Trust has done in caring for and managing this magnificent resource combining farm, education and culture, and also what an enormous responsibility they have for the environmental management of the properties for the people of Australia. This is particularly so given the length of Shoalhaven riparian zone (boundary between the land and river) that the properties border.

My ever-enthusiastic guide and Bundanon’s education manager, Mary Preece, has been utilising her photographic skills to catalogue the diverse plants species present across the properties, in order to contribute to the understanding of the biodiversity across the 11 vegetation communities in the landscape.

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Mary Preece Bundanon’s Education Manager works with local school students at Riversdale

However the management of 1,100 ha of diverse, native landscape has its challenges, and the Bundanon Trust is using theirs as an opportunity to learn and educate others by setting a great example of natural resource management.

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Mary Preece is photographing and cataloguing the diverse plant species on Bundanon in order to contribute to the understanding of the biodiversity across the 11 vegetation communities in the landscape.

One of the most apparent ongoing battles that the Bundanon landscape faces is the infestation of Lantana, particularly along the 15km riparian zone.

Haunted-Point-100_4507Pulpit Rock viewed from Bundanon Property

.As luck would have it, Bundanon’s caretaker Gary, who is also the longest serving resident of the properties, was happy to take me up to a place called Haunted Point, where the battle against invasive Lantana has been ongoing for a few years, and threatens the properties’ biodiversity and ecosystem health.

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This aggressive weed has been removed from the properties once before, and so there is a strong push to remove it again – this time for good! Landcare Australia, Greening Australia and the Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority are partnering with the Bundanon Trust to orchestrate the enormous task of removing Lantana from all the properties. Even from my brief tour around Haunted Point, the difference between cleared and uncleared areas was incredible! The cleared areas looked unburdened in contrast to the dense weed that seemed to be choking the understorey of the uncleared zones.

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This task is expected to take 3 years and to be completed by 2015. The removal of Lantana however is not a once off job, and will require constant management once the initial removal is complete, to prevent reinvasion. With so many knowledgeable people on hand, and the enthusiasm of the people that I met on my trip to Bundanon, I’m sure it is a labour of love that will lead to the eradication of this weed and the rehabilitation of the region. I am looking forward to seeing the progress as it continues.

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As we drove down the rocky road away from Haunted Point, we were able to identify a variety of vegetation that is inherent to the Shoalhaven region – red cedars for which the area was first colonised, figs, gums, banksia’s and bush lemons were all found along the way, not mention some petrified wood from a rock that had recently been split in half by a falling tree!

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Another environmental issue that Bundanon faces is the threat of bank erosion, which is unfortunately exacerbated by the removal vegetation (yes, even lantana) from the riparian zone. The property has taken many steps forward in reducing the impact of their practices on the riparian zone, by fencing off livestock and reinforcing vulnerable areas with local rocks to slow erosion rates. The awareness of such issues and the dedication of the Trust towards developing management strategies not only benefits the local region, but by sharing these experiences with visitors and students as part of the educational experience, Bundanon sets a great example of achievable goals, and such knowledge is passed on to the public where is has no boundaries!

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Bundanon Homestead

To add a great end to a fantastic day, I was shown around the sandstone homestead of the Boyd family, completed in 1866. Walking through the homestead was quite a personal and unique experience, with no ropes or barricades to keep you from getting a close up look at the displayed art collection, which includes artworks from Arthur’s childhood and throughout his life, and from all members of the family.

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Arthur Boyd’s studio at Bundanon

My favourite things were that children were allowed to play the family’s grand piano, and that the studio light switches were still covered in paint!

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Bundanon Trust is in a unique position where they have the opportunity to involve the public and educate students on the impacts that they are having through their natural resource management choices. It was a great day in the Shoalhaven, and a a great example of how the team are integrating the exploration of the artistic heritage of Arthur Boyd and his family with response to landscape and immersion in the natural environment.

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Riversdale – Spectacular scenery teamed with an award winning building designed by Glenn Murcutt in association with Wendy Lewin and Reg Lark

Next Gen Eco Champions fostering life long partnerships with farmers

I have the pleasure of working with Art4Agriculture to help train a team of 5 young natural resource management professionals from Southern Rivers region of NSW. They will be trained alongside the Young Farming Champions to develop leadership and communication skills and become local faces of sustainable primary production and natural resource management.

They will also work with Young Farmer Champions to present Archibull Prize activities in 15 schools throughout the region and work with the students to explore the economic, environmental and social challenges of sustainable agriculture and biodiversity conservation activities through the ‘Archibull Prize‘ competition.

As part of the project the 5 Young Eco Champions are also paired with 5 farmers to plan and help undertake natural resource management activities on the farmers’ properties. The aim of this component of the project is to help them better understand the diversity of land managers and their priorities and to work side by side with land managers to deliver healthy ecosystem outcomes

Young Eco Champion Renae Riviere recently visited the property of the landholder she is working with.  Renae will be sharing her journey with the readers of my blog. I am confident you will enjoy seeing her progress and outcomes just as much as me  …

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Renae checking out some of the revegation work the farmer has undertaken along the river bank

Today I visited the property I will be working on as part of the Young Eco Champions program. The property is about 36ha and it situated in prime dairy country in Jamberoo, NSW. The property is owned by an absentee landholder who lived on the farm for some years, but for various reasons has since moved closer to her workplace.

However she is highly aware of the need for and value of having productive agricultural land in the region conjunction with having a sustainable natural ecosystem.

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The property has great views and backs on to a number of dairy farms in the region

The property has remnants of Dry Rainforest flanking the driveway up to the house, but the understorey is dominated by lantana and wild tobacco, which will need to be systematically removed and replaced with local native rainforest species.

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Lantana and Tobacco Bush hold up large areas of the hillside and careful planning will need to be undertaken to ensure their removal does not encourage erosion in major rainfall events

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The next door neighbour, another lifestyle farmers ( fenced area to the right) also has significant weeds of national significance along the boundary fence

The landholder is balancing the two by leasing the land to a neighbouring dairy farmer who uses it to graze their young stock  as well as undertaking a bush regeneration projects in the rainforest with the help of funding from Southern Rivers CMA and support from Landcare Illawarra.

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Dairy heifers enjoy the lush pasture growing on the property 

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The farmer has already fenced of the waterways and put in a series of water troughs

The project I am working on will be carried out by an experienced bush regenerator and teams of volunteers from Conservation Volunteers Australia who will assist at major planting events.

Map

We have taken on a big pretty task as you can see from the map with the project area marked in yellow and the area we will be fencing in red

The project area fronts the road, so will be a great example to other landholders in the area of how an environmental rehabilitation project and a working dairy farm can exist side by side. As an added bonus every time the landholder drives up her driveway, she’ll be reminded of what a positive and lasting impact she has had on the biodiversity of her local environment.

This is a very exciting project and I can’t wait to sink my teeth into it! As well as coordinating the teams of volunteers, I will be writing pre and post project case studies, I’ll be making a video; interviewing the bush regenerator, the farmer who leases the property as well as the property owner. I’ll also be taking lots of photos along the way so that you can all see what great progress we make!