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Beyond the Bale : March 2016
45 Are you following a career pathway in wool or sheep and love what you do? Are you interested in learning how to inspire other young people to enter the wool industry? Expressions of interest are now open to become a 2016 Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champion – a program supported by AWI and organisations in other sectors of the Australian farming industry. The program aims to create an Australia- wide network of enthusiastic young professionals to promote Australian agriculture as a dynamic, innovative, rewarding and vibrant industry. As a Young Farming Champion sponsored by AWI, you would actively engage with the public and school students, spreading your passion for wool, bridging the rural-urban divide, and inspiring the next generation of youngsters to consider a career in the wool industry. As a Young Farming Champion you would become equipped with unique insights into all aspects of the agricultural supply chain as well as consumer attitudes and trends. You would then be able to feed this knowledge back to your peers to help them respond to emerging issues as well as assist others to also develop meaningful relationships with urban consumers. MORE INFORMATION www.art4agriculture.com.au/yfc Lynne Strong, 0407 740 446 firstname.lastname@example.org For 2014 Young Farming Champion Tom Tourle, growing wool is in his blood. Born and bred on a commercial wool-growing property just outside of Dubbo, producing 18-19 micron Merino wool, Tom was exposed to farm life right from the start. Riding tractors with his parents, watching master shearers at work and seeing the beautiful fleece produced by his parents Liz and Scott paved the way for a bright future. And so when Tom heard of the Young Farming Champion program – and saw what previous champions had accomplished – he was keen to become a part of it. After all, public engagement and spreading the good story of agriculture, particularly wool, are two things that drive this 25-year-old. We caught up with Tom to ask him about his experience of the program. WHAT DID YOUR ROLE AS A YOUNG FARMING CHAMPION ENTAIL? As a Young Farming Champion I have been involved in public and youth engagement, by speaking to people at shows about agriculture and the great things we do as producers. During the 2015 Sydney Royal Easter Show I was blown away by the interest shown by city people who wanted to know more about what we do and why we love being farmers. It was during the midst of yet another animal activist campaign so we had prepared ourselves to answer some tough questions. However, after chatting to hundreds of people, the appreciation for what we do was overwhelming. It was a real eye opener to see that these people love sheep and wool nearly as much as we do, and just want to know more about it. WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED? One of the biggest things I've learned from the Young Farming Champions program is how to positively engage with people who aren't from an agricultural background. We were put through our paces to hone our public speaking skills, and also given tips on how to effectively answer tough questions regarding animal welfare and land management. What it all comes down to is that if we want people to see the positive side of agriculture, we need to be proactive in telling the good story of what we do. HOW WILL YOU USE THESE NEW SKILL SETS IN YOUR CAREER AND WHAT IS YOUR DREAM JOB? I believe communication is the key to success in most aspects of what we do. Having the ability to effectively communicate with people has already helped me in my career significantly. As a teacher with Western College and TAFE Western – whilst also working on my family property – I deal with students from a wide range of backgrounds and ages, and the skills I have been fortunate to develop as a Young Farming Champion have helped me communicate in all areas. What I am doing right now is perfect for me. I love what I do day-to-day on the farm, and it's always great to get out and deliver training to people and share my passion for agriculture with them. WHY ARE EDUCATIONAL INITIATIVES SUCH AS THE YOUNG FARMING CHAMPION PROGRAM IMPORTANT? The educational initiatives I have been involved with through AWI are so important in the development of young farmers, as it equips us with the skills we need to be great ambassadors for the wool industry. Often we can get caught up in the negativity of farming, but having the ability to network with other positive people in the industry gives you that boost you sometimes need, while increasing our ability to share that positivity with the public. BECOME A YOUNG AMBASSADOR FOR WOOL FAST FACTS • Applications are open to young Australians for selection as Young Farming Champions representing the wool industry. • Young Farming Champions share their passion for agriculture with urban students and the public to show there is a bright and prosperous future in the industry. • Tom Tourle was selected as an AWI Young Farming Champion in 2014, and he has been encouraging young people to explore careers in the wool industry. YOUNG FARMING CHAMPION: TOM TOURLE Tom Tourle. PHOTO: Fairfax Media
In the Shops - March 2016