The Young Farming Champions (YFC) are identified youth ambassadors and future influencers working within the agriculture sector. The YFC promote positive images and perceptions of farming and engage in activities and innovative programs under the Art4Agriculture banner including The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas to get these messages across to wider audiences. The YFC demonstrate passion for their industry, while providing real life examples to young people who may have never considered a career in agriculture. Because they are young they can relate to students and are adept at breaking down stereotypes of farming and agricultural careers.
Taking part in the YFC two-year induction program Cultivate-Growing Youth Leadership involves undertaking a series of Sydney based workshops, under the mentorship of some of Australia’s finest communication, marketing and professional development experts.
The program’s focus is developing confident, independent, reflective thinkers who can share their story and their personal experiences, while voicing their own opinions about agricultural issues in their industry and more broadly.
The program equips and prepares the participants for that often very daunting experience: of standing up to be counted, even in difficult circumstances. The YFC leadership development model is providing the rock-solid foundation and pivotal stepping stones as part of a journey to lead agriculture’s next generation.
Through these workshops and the program’s lifetime mentorship opportunities, the YFC are also equipped with unique insights into all aspects of the agricultural supply chain as well as consumer attitudes and trends.
The Young Farming Champions are focused on the big picture and have shared interests in mobilising movements that influence policy, practice, and culture.
The outcomes and impacts of Art4agriculture programs are measured through extensive quantitative and qualitative analysis. In the last five years the programs and their key messages have reached over 200,000 students in schools, almost one million people through exhibitions and close to 1.6 million people through print, TV and radio coverage yearly.
The Young Farming Champions program is remarkable for its aspirations and purpose, especially as it has been pioneered and developed by an altruistic and big picture thinker from her own personal resources, for the good of agriculture as a whole, outside of any charity or industry body organisation.
There are three major aspects of this program that contribute to its success, for the participants and for the agriculture sector as whole:
"Cotton has been part of my life ever since i was a kid and the cotton industry has really taken me under its wing. The Art4Agriculture program has been a highlight.
The workshops, getting to meet new people, networking. All the information and tips on presenting and public speaking. Having one on one professional coaching has been really great for gaining those leadership and communication skills which are vital for everything that you do.
One of the great things we talked about was how to handle those tricky industry questions and remembering your key messages.
The importantace of being able to back up what you say with facts and personal experiences was something that really resonated. I went away thinking ‘right, that’s how you do it, that’s excellent!"
"It’s easy for farmers, especially ones so far removed from cities, consumers and even the rest of the supply chain process, to fall into the habit of feeling unappreciated. My two days at Hamilton North – and the other schools I’ve visited – proved the exact opposite. We are so genuinely welcomed, loved and appreciated. Consumers really are interested in hearing our stories and understanding why producing food and fibre is such a vital part of all their lives. I wish all farmers had the opportunity to experience this the way I did. Communities and the agricultural sector have a symbiotic relationship, one cannot thrive without the other, and I believe there could be a lot more understanding and appreciation for both. Building bonds between the two will ensure the continued survival and success of our agricultural industries."
"One of the first tests of a YFC is to work with primary and secondary schools as part of the Archibull Prize. In 2015 I helped students from Wagga and Lockhart to design their “Archie” answering questions about wool that started as basic ones and became more in-depth as the students developed a greater appreciation of the industry. For the school was far more than a fibreglass cow artwork, - It represented a theme, an industry and a paddock-to-plate process."
"The workshops conducted in Sydney equip us with unique insights into all aspects of the agriculture, as well as consumer attitudes and trends.
I went from crying from the fear of public speaking to having the confidence to stand up and talk to a room of like-minded adults or a classroom of students."
"The YFC program is a fantastic opportunity to become more involved in the industry I love and to showcase it in classrooms, changing any preconceived ideas of what a farmer should look like and what is happening on a farm level.
I am impressed with the resources provided by AWI in the form of classroom teaching materials and videos. They are wonderful tools to use in presenting not only in schools but anywhere when discussing the fantastic fibre that is wool."
"Thank you so much for organising a stellar line up of people to help and encourage us to change and continually strive to be better advocates for cotton and careers in agriculture. I wish we could make the workshops open to a wider audience because I know so many youth in agriculture that would benefit from this. I know I was blessed to be selected for this program, and it has changed my life. I am so much more confident and I understand now how I need to approach my dreams. I dreamed to be part of the generation who changed the face of agriculture in the wider community and I am almost certain now that I am lucky enough to say that dream is coming true. I am so eternally grateful, keep up the amazing work!"
"The main things I took away from the workshops were how to talk to the media, how to promote my industry the best way I could, and ways to better communicate science to a younger audience while still being informative and fun at the same time.
I loved being involved with the other YFCs and all the opportunities that have come from it. I love that I was able to meet and be supported by like-minded people and be an ambassador for my industry and young people."
"For me, Art4Agriculture has made it possible to attend large industry events where I get the chance to talk to consumers about where their food comes from. That’s just not something you can easily organise without the support of a program like this. No one else is going to take me to the biggest consumer engagement events in Australia and give me direct engagement opportunities with school students, consumers and even talking with farmers about how much it can benefit the industry by having simple conversations with people. Now I see so many more opportunities to do that myself because I have the experience and I have the language and the knowledge of how to do that."
"Being a YFC for the Art4Agriculutre program has opened so many doors and given me life skills I otherwise wouldn’t have had the chance to gain. This program allowed me to meet others with the same passion and fire that I share for the agricultural industry. It gave me a fun and encouraging environment to develop skills like public speaking, interview skills and presentation skills, to name just a few.
I have also been able to meet with and speak to many leading industry members and attend wonderful events such as the Cotton Conference. Being a YFC makes you stand out from the crowd. The YFC program also helps you stand out when going for a job. It not only enabled me to handle interviews, but has been viewed as a very impressive experience to have on my resume.
For me, the most amazing YFC experience - was seeing the children’s faces light up when I walked into a school classroom to present for The Archibull Prize.
What most touched me was how the students’ understanding of the grains industry changed from my visit. Before I went into the school the students had a vague knowledge, but once I’d spoken to them they were all thinking about where they might like to work or how they’d like to be involved with the agricultural industry.
That is the reason I love this program so much, because you can inspire and be a role model for the youth of today and show them a career or industry they may never have considered before. I may be biased but agriculture is the best industry to work in and the more enthusiastic young people we have in our industry the more promising our future will be."
"It is said that a mentor empowers a person to see a possible future, and to believe it can be obtained.
Before I joined the Young Farming Champions (YFC) program I was a young farmer bottled with ideas and values, but without the confidence or the platform to share them.
The first YFC workshop I attended was an extraordinary experience. I met other young people like myself – passionate about the land, about their rural communities, and wanting to promote an industry that they were so proud to be part of. The YFCs came from such diverse regions of Australia and worked in a whole gamut of food and fibre industries. Their stories amazed me. But like myself, they needed the skills and knowledge to share these stories.
The YFC program helps lift the voices of young farmers so our stories can be heard. We are provided the skills and knowledge to illustrate our stories and present them with the passion we all hold within. We are given unprecedented access to some of Australia’s brightest minds, many of who continue to play a leading mentor role years later.
The many and diverse mentors exposed through the YFC program help young farmers work towards long-term goals, and meet their personal and career aspirations. They inspire and guide us to success."
If you would like to be on our mailing list please contact the Program Manager Lynne Strong by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Mobile: 0407 740 446.
The YFC promote positive images and perceptions of farming and engage in activities and innovative programs under the Art4Agriculture banner like The Archibull Prize to get these messages across to wider audiences.
The Art4Agriculture model takes a collaborative approach to creating a buzz around agriculture, leadership development training, community engagement and inspiring the next generation’s best and brightest to seek careers in agriculture. Success lies in recognising the power of partnerships to achieve innovative solutions, better results and catalyse and sustain positive change impacts for Australian agriculture.