Narromine local Billy Browning has taken out one of the titles of the 2012 Young Farming Champions in the Cotton Industry sector.
The Young Farming Champions are a network of young people dedicated to sharing the positive stories of Australian agriculture with urban communities.
They visit metropolitan schools as part of Art4Agriculture’s Archibull Prize program where students are tasked with interpreting agricultural concepts through art.
“We understand most metropolitan schools won’t be able to organise an excursion to a farm as part of their participation in the Archibull Prize,” says Lynne Strong, Art4Agriculture’s National Program Director.
“So to support their agricultural studies and create connections with real people in the industry we introduced the Young Farming Champions program to send farmers and young people with careers in agriculture, into schools instead.”
Young Farming Champions give students a presentation about their farm, career and industry.
They provide technical information about the food or fibre the students are studying and answer any questions the students may have as they prepare their Archibull Prize entry.
“The Young Farming Champions have an enormous impact on the schools they visit,” says Lynne.
“Many metropolitan students have never met a farmer and love the opportunity to meet someone, not much older than them, with a career in the sector.”
Cotton Australia is sponsoring three Young Farming Champions this year and Billy Browning is joined by Katie Broughton of Narrabri and Tamsin Quirk from Moree as cotton’s representatives.
“The Young Farming Champions also gain a unique industry experience from participating in the program,” says Lynne.
“Not only do they receive intensive training and professional development they also gather insights into how and what consumers think about food and fibre production.”
The Young Farming Champions recently spent a weekend learning about the aims of the program, honing their public speaking and engagement skills, learning how to craft a memorable message and handle difficult conversations or questions about their chosen industry.
They also started crafting their presentations about their chosen industry and giving consideration to the structure of their videos.
“Our sponsors have told us they appreciate the rigorous training Young Farming Champions receive, which not only maximises their partnerships with the students they meet but grows the next generation of industry leaders,” says Lynne.
Cotton Australia Education co-ordinator, Sophie Davidson who attended the training workshop, agreed.
“I felt very privileged to be party to the development of industry leaders in the making,” she said.
“The workshop confirmed for all participants that they do have a unique story, that they do have something important to say and that they, as young people, are in a unique position to say it.
“As a sponsor the component of the workshop where it was most beneficial for me to be present was having difficult conversations session. I realised, more than ever, that we need to arm our Young Farming Champions with the information to support what they are saying - that the cotton industry is sustainable, innovative, community-minded and something of which the students can be proud and involved in.”
Young Farming Champions are now working on their videos and industry presentations prior to meeting again in August to review their progress.
They will visit their allocated schools in metropolitan Sydney and Brisbane in September this year.
The 2012 Young Farming Champions are:
Katie Broughton, Narrabri, NSW - Cotton Industry
Tamsin Quirk, Moree, NSW - Cotton Industry
Kylie Stretton, Charters Towers, QLD - Beef Industry
Hayley Piggott, Rolleston, QLD - Beef Industry
Madie Hamilton, Sydney, NSW - Beef & Sheep Industry
Bronwyn Roberts, Emerald, QLD - Natural Resource Management /Beef
Stephanie Fowler, Richmond, NSW - Beef
Jessica Monteith, Berry, NSW - Dairy Industry
Tom Pearce, Bega, NSW - Dairy Industry
Lauren Crothers, Dirranbandi, Qld - Wool Industry
Kathleen Allan, Yass, NSW - Wool Industry
Sammi Townsend, Lyndhurst, NSW - Wool Industry
Samuel Adams, Armidale, NSW - Wool Industry