Four young farming enthusiasts are embarking on a mission to promote the importance of the nation’s grains industry.
Grain grower Daniel Fox, PhD student Rebecca Thistlethwaite, grains analyst Jessica Kirkpatrick and agriculture student Diana George are the winners of the Grains Research and Development Corporation-sponsored grains sector section of the 2014 Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champions program.
The four will promote their passion for the grains industry when visiting schools throughout Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria over the coming year.
Among 20 young farmers from across Australia selected as ambassadors on behalf of a range of agricultural industries, they will also have the opportunity to participate in a comprehensive and diverse array of initiatives offered by Art4Agriculture’s supporting partners, including the GRDC.
GRDC’s capacity building program manager Kathleen Allan said the 2014 Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champions initiative provided valuable professional development opportunities for young people in the grains industry and increased awareness amongst school children of the importance of agriculture and the range of career opportunities in the sector.
The GRDC is very supportive of programs such as Art4Agriculture which draw positive attention to the grains industry and highlight the career paths it has to offer, as well as providing a chance for young people to develop their confidence and capabilities,” Ms Allan said.
Building skills and capacity within the grains sector is a key focus of the GRDC which recognises the real need to encourage more young people to choose a rewarding career in this vibrant and progressive industry.
The Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champions program is part of an exciting portfolio of programs that GRDC invests in to provide a range of skills and capacity building activities for current and potential future members of the Australian grains industry.”
The Young Farming Champions are being enlisted to help ensure consumers have confidence and trust in modern farming practices.
They will be involved in the Art4Agriculture Archibull Prize which engages primary and secondary school students in agricultural and environmental awareness through art, design, creativity and teamwork. This innovative program celebrates the role Australian farmers play in feeding families in Australia and around the world.
Participating schools will be provided with a blank, life-sized fibreglass cow for students to create an artwork on or to use as the subject of an artwork which focuses on the theme: "What does it take to feed and clothe your community for a day sustainably?"
Each school will be paired with a Young Farming Champion who will share their farming journey and work with the students throughout the duration of the project.
The four grains industry ambassadors are:
- Jessica Kirkpatrick, who is a 19-year-old university student, grains analyst and stud sheep breeder. Jessica’s family has been farming near Beaufort, Victoria, for 150 years. With aspirations of a career as a grains agronomist, Jessica is studying a Bachelor of Agricultural Science in Wagga Wagga, NSW.
- Diana George, who is based near Nevertire in NSW. Diana’s family run a dryland cropping operation, alongside small herds of Angus cattle and Dorper sheep. Diana is in her final year of a Bachelor of Agriculture at the University of New England.
- Rebecca Thistlethwaite, who is based at Narrabri, NSW, where she is undertaking her PhD with the help of a GRDC Postgraduate Scholarship to study plant breeding and genetics at the University of Sydney.
- Daniel Fox, whose family has been farming in the Marrar district of NSW for more than 80 years. Daniel recently graduated from Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, with a double degree in science and education, and is now back home on the family’s sheep and dryland cropping farm.
More information about the Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champions program can be found at www.art4agriculture.com.au.
Caption: Winners of the GRDC-sponsored grains sector section of the 2014 Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champions program are (from left) Diana George (Nevertire, NSW), Jessica Kirkpatrick (Beaufort, Victoria), Rebecca Thistlethwaite (Narrabri, NSW), and Daniel Fox (Marrar, NSW).
Kathleen Allan, GRDC
Phone 02 6166 4500
Sharon Watt, Porter Novelli
Phone 0409 675100
National, North, South