“The strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.”
Why Young People?
The world needs creative, innovative and courageous young people who can connect, collaborate and act.
We know that youth may only be 20% of the population but they are 100% of the future. The time is now to let them share their dreams and design the future they want to create.
An Australian agriculture sector that supports young people to solve tomorrow’s problems today by giving them experiences, agency, and voice.
The Young Farming Champions Leadership Team (YFCLT) is a group of committed Young Farming Champions (YFC) alumni who have stepped up to take responsibility for, and share ownership of, a vision to enable and empower young leaders in agriculture.
The YFCLT represents a powerful personal and professional development path, giving participants the skills needed to take on leadership roles at all levels in their workplaces and their communities.
Through YFCLT model we have created a safe environment where YFC can experiment in their journey to become leadership practitioners.
Our goals are:
Grow and practice your leadership mastery.
Solve complex problems by approaching them with an experimenter’s mindset; learn and practice the words, actions and stances that motivate others to collaborate and co-create.
The team have identified the values which will form the foundation for their decision-making processes and guide them in interactions with each other, their peers, collaborating partners and the community.
These values are:
Together we will learn, adapt, grow and be accountable for actions of the team. We value our personal time and the time of our team members.
We innovate, adapt to change and value individuals and interactions over process and tools to meet our purpose in an ever changing environment.
We're supporting young people to solve tomorrow's problems, today.
We empower and multiply our team's voices.
We value open communication, where all voices are heard/listened to. Although our personal and professional goals may vary we support each other in working on team objectives.
We help those around us access opportunities for themselves, recognising the privileges our past opportunities have offered us.
Dione is a District Veterinarian with Riverina Local Land Services based in Wagga Wagga, NSW. Dione won the 2021 Sydney Royal Easter Show Rural Achiever award and has been an active member of the Youth Voices Leadership Team since its inception in 2018, previously holding the positions of Mentor Leader, Innovation Leader and Vice Chair.
Dione’s seat on the YVLT Executive is enhanced by her completion of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) Company Directors Course, which she undertook in conjunction with her role as Wool Producer’s Youth Ambassador in 2019.
“What keeps me coming back to YVLT and the YFC community is being able to assist young agriculturalists to achieve their goals and extend their leadership and communication capabilities. Since I’ve been a YFC our team has achieved some amazing things. The future is very bright for this group and if you’re thinking about it, now is the right time to apply to be a Young Farming Champion!”
After completing an internship with YVLT in 2020 Jess Fearnley has upped her commitment by taking on the role of Secretary in 2021.Jess is an Industry Development Officer with Temperate Fruits working with the NSW Department of Primary Industries and is keen to amplify the voice of young people in horticulture.
“I am excited for the opportunity to learn new skills and to challenge myself in this role, which I see as taking organisation of the committee to the next level. I will be recording minutes, organising the agenda, sending calendar invites, handling email correspondence and endeavouring to keep everyone on track.”
Jess has already been employing communication skills learnt through her time with Cultivate and YFC. “In the last 12 months I have presented research findings, fostered relationships through within the temperate fruit industry and was the twitter representative for NSW DPI at the Evoke Ag conference in February.”
Anika Molesworth is a farmer, agricultural researcher and passionate and vocal advocate for the future of farming in a changing climate. She takes her story to the national and international stage having presented anywhere from the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris to Prime Super International Women’s Day Luncheons held around Australia. She has had one-on-one conversations with the Duke of Sussex and the 68th US Secretary of State John Kerry on climate action, and regularly appears on television shows such as The Project and The Drum. She has participated in the Homeward Bound leadership program in Antarctica.
Anika brings her wealth of connections to the role of Partnerships Ambassador with YVLT and her belief in the power of young people to change the world. “I love to learn from this incredible team, and from the young people involved. I am keen to impart some of my knowledge; to exchange ideas and create conversation about the agricultural industry. I love the enthusiasm of young people - nothing is too big or out of their reach, anything is possible - and I love working with people with that mentality.”
Currently working as a research scientist for Agriculture Victoria, Jo Newton is positioning herself at the interface of research, application and extension in the field of livestock genetics. “We have world-class research facilities and minds in Australia but haven’t always done a very good job of translating research into action. I am determined to change this and ensure research outcomes aren’t confined to scientific journals. I believe the best way to achieve this is through communication between scientists, academics and the rest of the agricultural sector.”
Jo has previously held the position of Chair of the YVLT and now works in an advisory role as Returning Officer. She sees this as a new way to continue paying forward the lessons learnt from her own mentors; and an important step in the succession plan of the YVLT.
“Access to mentors, resources and professional development opportunities is important to help young people realise their full potential. In 25-30 years’ time it will be young people making the decisions which shape the future of agriculture (and Australia). Now is the time to be investing in them so they have the capabilities to do so successfully.”
At Action4Agriculture we believe empowered young people have the capacity to solve tomorrow’s problems today. The Innovation Hub is a Young Farming Champions alumni community of practice for individuals and groups to build an innovation mindset, explore new ideas, collaborate, experiment and accelerate learning applied to a real-world project that nurtures a bright future for agriculture.
As CEO of Cowra agribusiness Wallaringa Trust, farmer and grain grower Marlee is a steward of the land. She is passionate about sharing this stewardship journey in many different arenas including programs such as Grain Growers ‘Grains Social Leadership’ and platforms such as Rural Room.
“As social licence expectations of an ever-connected consumer continue to evolve across the 24 hour news cycle I see an opportunity to have meaningful dialogue with the community on issues that are important to them now and for the future. Through sharing real agriculturalists stories on our social media outlets conversation commences, industry transparency is achieved and hence, balanced societal perspective is strengthened.”
In her YVLT role Marlee is responsible for overseeing the YFC social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Muster Newsletter, LinkedIn, Instagram and any other future accounts) to ensure they run in an efficient, effective and engaging way. “Our social media content celebrates the success of both the YFCs and agriculture at large and provides engaging, inspiring and honest messages to our audience. I work hand in hand with future agricultural leaders and provide guidance on how to portray their stories on social media and to create consistent branding for Action4Agriculture.”
Samantha is a Wool Business Specialist at Elders, based at the National Wool Selling Centre in Melbourne, Victoria. Her role with Elders has allowed Samantha to develop a suite of innovative products including a weekly wool market podcast, and she co-developed a new wool-valuing system across all three of the Elders wool selling centres, earning her the title of 2019 Winner of National Council of Wool Selling Brokers of Australia Broker Award.
Samantha brings these IT, social media and marketing skills to the table for YVLT where she is responsible for identifying and supporting new projects and providing input for future Young Farming Champion workshops. “I nominated for this role as an opportunity to put the training received as a YFC into practice, develop my skill-set and give back to the Action4Agriculture team and community who are a high calibre group of individuals united under Australian agriculture. Being part of this group also provides opportunities to the next generation of agriculturalists and consumers.”
Samantha is the 2019/2020 WoolProducers Australia Youth Ambassador and in 2021 joined the board of the Michael Manion Wool Industry Foundation.
Being admitted as a solicitor in the Supreme Court of NSW in December 2019, the same year she graduated with a Bachelor of Agriculture/Laws from the University of New England, means Meg Rice brings a unique set of agricultural skills to the YVLT.
Meg has been involved with boards and committees for several years being the former Chairperson of the UNE Farming Futures, a Young Farming Champion since 2017, a RAS Rural Achiever and a board director for UNE Life and Country to Canberra. Meg is currently working as a policy officer with the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment in Canberra, whilst spending time between farming properties in Parkes, NSW and Goondiwindi, QLD.
“I enjoy the opportunity to develop my personal and professional skills and I see my role on the YVLT as an opportunity to assist Young Farming Champions to use the skills they have developed throughout the program to share and develop their own ideas. I am excited to encourage collaboration and innovation.”
After nine years of university, culminating in a PhD, Dr Calum Watt is now unleashing his brilliant brain on the commercial world in his role as national wheat breeder for Intergrain. “I have wanted to be a plant breeder for a very long time. I view it as the most efficient way to improve the productivity and sustainability of grain production, which in turn leads to everyone having access to have safe, affordable, nutritious food.”
As a communicator Calum has been recognised across the country; representing Murdoch University at the Asia-Pacific finals of the 3-minute thesis competition and receiving the Paul Johnston Memorial Award for the best presentation by a young scientist at the 2019 Australian Barley Technical Symposium. He brings these communication skills to the fore in the Advocacy Sub-Committee of the YVLT.
“I believe it is important to get advocacy right otherwise it won’t amount to change, and there comes a point you need to be the driver of that change. We can go about this alone but being part of a community of individuals, such as the YVLT, who are trying to do the same thing, is hugely beneficial.”
On completion of a Bachelor of Agricultural Science from Sydney University, Tayla Field accepted a graduate position with salad producer One Harvest, which saw her begin work on Tasmanian farms before being transferred to the processing facility in Sydney and then to the sales department. With this rounded view of the company Tayla is now a Business Manager for One Harvest in Brisbane.
Throughout her career Tayla has been a Young Farming Champion. “Participating in the Action4Agriculture programs since 2016 has given me a breadth of personal and professional skills and built a great support network of like-minded people. The program continues to offer opportunities to engage with a great group of people and four years later this is what keeps me interested and looking to continue my learnings and involvement with Action4Agriculture.”
Tayla extended her networking opportunities when she spent seven weeks in the UK with a salad supplier. “The YVLT facilitates the scoping and exploration of exciting new projects, and extensions to current projects, that will focus on building engagement and supporting youth within different agricultural industries. I hope that through being a part of these sessions, we can develop platforms for young farmers and consumers to have discussions about important issues within our industry.”
Katherine Bain grew up on her family’s sheep property in the Western District of Victoria and has extended her interest in agriculture across Australia and across the world. She spent a year on exchange in Japan and travelled through Europe before completing a Bachelor of Agribusiness at Marcus Oldham College in Geelong. After university, she worked on a cattle ranch in Canada and then returned to Australian soils as a Business Analyst for a large farming company in Orange. With this wide experience behind her and a firm grasp of financial and production management, Katherine has now returned to the family farm to work alongside her parents and build on her practical farming skills.
Katherine brings this enthusiasm and networking experience to both the YFC and the YVLT. “Young Farming Champions program has allowed me to connect with passionate people from a wide range of industries. These connections have been invaluable in my career so far, and I would like to think also into the future.” Through her work with the YVLT Katherine looks forward to furthering the connection between students and the agricultural industry. “I hope we will close a few knowledge gaps of where to get information on current issues and ensure the voice of agriculture gets heard in classrooms around Australia.”
Chloe Dutschke is all over the world of wool. She has mustered 10,000 acre paddocks, worked in shearing sheds and travelled to Hong Kong to learn about wool’s role in fashion. She now works as a senior station hand on a pastoral property in NSW’s Western Riverina.
Chloe’s passion and dedication to Australia’s wool industry were rewarded in 2019 when she was named the joint winner of the Peter Westblade Scholarship, and her willingness to share her story was celebrated when the National Farmers Federation published her experience of dealing with COVID-19. Throughout her career Chloe has been a Young Farming Champion. “I enjoy networking with like-minded individuals and being a part of an adaptable and ever-changing program that shares the same values I do and is part of a positive agricultural change.”
“I wanted to give back to the YFC program and felt I had the desired skills to bring to this committee. I also want to learn new skills and work with other YFC to develop workshops and create and deliver new ideas.”