HOW TO USE THIS ONLINE MAGAZINE
by clicking the arrows at the side of the page.
by clicking anywhere on the page. A slider will appear, allowing you to adjust your zoom level.
and move the page around when zoomed in by dragging the page.
and return to the original size by clicking on the page again.
by entering text in the search field and click on "In This Issue" or "All Issues" to search the current issue or the archive of back issues
a PDF of this magazine.
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
a page via email, Facebook, Twitter and more.
TO VIEW PREVIOUS EDITIONS
, click the
button at the bottom of the screen.
Beyond the Bale : December 2015
ON FARM 29 Champions program to help encourage young people to enter the agricultural sector when they finish school. “I don’t believe there is nearly enough emphasis placed on agriculture as a viable option for a career to year 10, 11 and 12 students in both rural and urban communities. I believe that the promotion of agriculture should begin as early as possible at a high school level and I hope to accomplish this as a Young Farming Champion. “What I’ve realised about agriculture is that everyone is connected. When you eat food or choose clothes, you are making decisions that affect Australia’s farmers. That’s why I believe agricultural engagement is so important. It’s vital that every person has the chance to access information and make an informed decision about what they’re buying. “And what better place to start than at school level? This is the age where students are taught basic experimental skills in a laboratory, research processes on the internet and communication abilities in the classroom. This is the age where they can best learn to apply all of these fundamentals to agriculture and its endless career possibilities.” Five years ago Bessie Thomas from Queensland knew little about farming. But after falling for a woolgrower and moving to far west NSW to live and work on 30,000 hectares of grazing land, she is now a keen and vocal advocate for the wool industry. “I don’t come from a farming background; in fact I’m actually a journalist. But I fell in love with a handsome traveller, who turned out to be a farmer’s son,” Bessie says. “So I moved from the tropics of North Queensland to join his family on their little slice of outback paradise more than 100km from the closest town of Wilcannia. “I went from wearing heels and skirts to work writing the television news, to wearing boots and jeans to work, helping my partner and his family run up to 20,000 head of Merinos across three properties – and I’m loving it. I have developed a passion for life on the land, and wool-growing in particular, that borders on crazed at times!” Bessie became a Young Farming Champion sponsored by AWI in 2013 and through the program, run by Art4Agriculture, has travelled to schools in the state passing on her zeal for wool to the next generation and helping bridge the gap between city and country. The first school she visited was Hamilton North Public School in Newcastle which set the tone for her experience as wool ambassador. “I had one of the most fantastic experiences of my life there. Nothing prepared me for the reception that I received from the children and teachers. To suddenly walk among swarms of children that are yelling, ‘It’s Bessie! She’s here!’ and singing ‘She is a champion’ to the tune of ‘We are the champions’ is crazy, unreal and exhilarating, and the first morning bell hadn’t even rung yet! “My first morning was spent touring the classes – first grades 5 and 6, then 3 and 4, and then K, 1 and 2 – giving my presentation to the students. This was well received and I ran out of time with each class to answer all their questions. They wanted to know everything, from ‘How much grass do sheep eat each day?’ to ‘How do you get them into the shearing shed?’ They were enthralled and exceptionally interested in my stories of farming, sheep, and everything to do with how wool makes it from farm to fashion. “I then joined the all-school assembly where students took the opportunity to ask me more questions that they’d thought of after my classroom presentations. They wanted to discuss every little detail of farm life and growing wool... such a huge topic to fit into just a few days!” Bessie also spent time with the teacher and five Year 4 students who make up the editorial team of the school’s Archibull blog. The girls picked Bessie’s brain for industry knowledge, taking down notes and discussing more in-depth topics such as different breeds of sheep, a year in the life of a sheep and the various properties of wool. A week after Bessie’s school visit, AWI also took some sheep and a shearer to Hamilton North for a shearing demonstration. The feedback from the children was outstanding. Bessie says 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.” MORE INFORMATION www.wool.com/YFC www.art4agriculture.com.au/yfc www.facebook.com/bessieatburragan www.hamiltonnorthsarchibull2014. wordpress.com BESSIE THOMAS SCHOOLS THE NEXT GENERATION Bessie Thomas outside the shearing shed on her property in far west NSW.
In the Shops - March 2016