When you stand out on a limb to fight for what you believe in, its not the detractors with the chain saws trying to cut you down that are your biggest threat. Its self doubt. One can never overestimate the emotional benefit of having a clever team around you that can put the detail in your big idea and then help you action it and above all be there listening and supporting when the self doubt creeps in.
I first had the idea for the Young Farming Champions program when I became involved with the Cows Create Careers program. Believe me it is a great joy visiting schools and presenting to students who are interested in your career and your industry. Its another thing all together to present to a group of boys who couldn’t care less and are determined to make your experience as uncomfortable as possible. Talking to other farmers over 40 participating in the program I found I wasn’t alone
So it was obvious to me if the dairy industry was going to attract young people into careers in dairy we needed to show school students we had young exciting people in our industry. Pivotally young exciting people who were confident they could reach any audience including schools students, build rapport, deal with difficult questions and inspire.
If we are honest very few people are born with all those skill sets. So I came up with the idea of the Young Farming Champions program and put it to some people at Dairy Australia who all went shock horror DA wont fund that, don’t even think twice about taking it any further .
The self doubt crept in and the branch got a bit shaky ( as it has many times over the years) but there were just enough people in the support network nourishing the ground my tree stood on to keep me going.
The Young Farming Champions program has now been running very successfully since 2011 with great support from GRDC, MLA, AWI, Cotton Australia, Pauls and NSW Farmers. Each year when the applications flood in we get reminded how many young exciting people are choosing diverse careers in the agriculture sector
Each year we work harder and harder to get the funding necessary to give young people from all industries the same opportunity. When we are asked what sets the Young Farming Champions program apart from other industry leadership programs, our team now believe that the program is at that exciting stage where the participants and the outcomes speak for themselves
This was reinforced when two weeks ago when I got a call from The Land to give me a heads up that they had just had a call from the Governor General’s Office and to expect a call. My goodness did I need the chill pills and the beta blockers when that call came in
To think of all the programs for young people in agriculture they could have selected from to meet the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Government House last night they wanted a 2014 Young Farming Champion.
The one thing I was very confident about no matter which Young Farming Champion frocked up/ suited up for this honour each and everyone of them would do agriculture proud.
I take this opportunity to thank the Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champions’ supporters for their confidence in the program and for opening every door at their disposal to give these young exciting people the skills and knowledge to help drive the connected, cohesive and profitable Australian agrifood sector we all want to see.