Meet the Young People of Agriculture in Australia
Updated: Oct 13, 2020
While agriculture is the cornerstone to Australian prosperity and identity, it has also been subject to fear around social and economic crises undermining the ability of farmers to maintain growth to care for and feed, rural communities, environments, and subsequently, the nation. 
Picture You in Agriculture is a Not for Profit Organization whose vision is to design and deliver community events that are a true celebration of diversity, sustainability, creativity and progress of the people, places and produce behind the industries that feed and clothe us and will power us in the future.
In conjunction with Corteva Agriscience Australia, Picture You in Agriculture set out to develop the Growing Young Leaders Program – where graduates would become Young Farming Champions – a national network of globally connected young thought-leaders, thriving in business and in life, who are continuously inspiring community pride in Australian agriculture.
Hear from some of the 2020 Growing Young Leaders Scholarship finalists:
Meet Emily May, an agronomist in training advocating for urban agriculture
“[The] desire to be part of something bigger was driven by witnessing the ever-changing dynamic of the agricultural scene in and around the Hawkesbury. I saw opportunities for farmers to embrace new technology and farming approaches and this inspired me to study a Bachelor of Agriculture at UNE. Supporting farmers and growers adjust and uptake best management practices, reducing reliance on chemicals, increasing their resilience and confidence to navigate the complex world around them, including participating in informed and influential conversations about land uses has become a key driver in my involvement in agriculture. Today I now take a proactive role in being a voice for the industry and bringing the community on the journey with me to advocate for peri-urban agriculture. I volunteer with the Hawkesbury Harvest and their support has opened a door for me to have a regular spot on ABC Sydney radio sharing the good news stories and opportunities for people can get involved with their local producers in and around Sydney.”
Meet Alice Burwell, a veterinarian who shares a passion to make a difference and fight for gender equity
"There is nothing more exciting for me than helping producers turn calves into productive, healthy cows that are the building blocks for a producer’s successful business. Regardless of the species, it is the full circle of producing profitable, healthy beef/dairy cattle and sheep in a sustainable and welfare conscious manner that excites me. As an industry we have many opportunities to showcase our industry is gender inclusive and ensure veterinarians are valued for the diverse skills and knowledge they bring to the farm team."
Meet Elizabeth Argue who was busy opening doors to a career in agriculture at 10
"From my naïve view as a ten year old romanticising spending days on a horse mustering cattle I have come to realise the agricultural sphere is so much more than this and growing every day. Although there will always be a call for those stockmen and women mustering cattle, modern agriculture also calls for a range of individuals with an ever increasing diverse range of skills from all walks of life. It is my passion for people that is driving my vision for the future. I want a career where I can open young peoples eyes to the diversity of rewarding careers in the industry I love. I want to ignite a spark in particular women from all backgrounds to discover their inherent calling in agriculture. There is a plethora of opportunities developing and I would love to be the one to open doors for others to these opportunities."
Meet Veronika Vicic who sees a commitment to genuine and lasting relationships between producers and consumers as the key to success for agriculture
"Working within the industry has given me confidence we strive to maintain some of the world’s highest standards. It has also shown me it is imperative we communicate the efforts behind Australian producer’s work ethic and commitment to the quality products that consumers receive and how the industry maintains this standard by continually shaping business models to suit evolving consumer demands. I see our role is to communicate to our consumer audience in a way that everyone can understand and engage with.
As a city kid exposed the world of agriculture at university I am passionate about sharing my story and encouraging other young people to follow my journey to a rewarding career in agriculture. Through my research I want to be able to support farmers to make the best decisions for their animals and their business and help them share their stories to encourage others to effectively navigate the complex and nuanced "
Meet Francesca Earp who is hungry for equality
"I flew to Luang Prabang in November of 2018, determined to make a difference. I worked with farmers, government and university staff. It wasn’t until six months into my time in Laos that I realised what I was genuinely passionate about. I noticed that the female farmers sat at the back of the room during training, that they answered on behalf of their husband in surveys and that I was one of the only females in my team.
I noticed female farmer exclusion and disempowerment. After that, I knew what I wanted to do. I became dedicated to the inclusion and empowerment of female farmers in a culturally appropriate manner. I designed non-verbal training tools such as board games and activity books to accommodate for the higher rates of illiteracy due to limited schooling. I ran female only training sessions. I became a PhD candidate, investigating the impact of socio-cultural factors on the uptake of agricultural development training programs, with a emphasis on the female farmer. Back in Australia, after a year and a half of living in Laos, I am still dedicated to the empowerment of the female farmer. I believe that we need to understand and recognise the cultural script of beneficiary communities so that we can tailor agricultural extension programs to these socio-cultural factors. More importantly, I believe in the power of the female farmer."
Meet Renae Kretchmer who became a farmer to be a cultivator of life and a steward of the land
"As a kid I was asked; ‘what do you want to become?’
It was simple: A farmer.
For me it has always been easy to see; farmers are cultivators of life, they feed the world, are true stewards of the land and perhaps have the most important job out there. But they are constantly combatting this ‘farmer misconception’, and that must be changed. I want all young people like me to have the confidence to say with pride that she wants to be a farmer and to feel they have made a valued choice. For her to have the opportunities to cultivate that spark of interest into something amazing.
Farming is unlimited opportunities to marvel at nature; to experience wholeheartedly the joys each new season brings. To be at the mercy of the weather but still have profound faith. To pray for rain and then dance when it’s bucketing down.
My dream is to be a regenerative, ethical, diverse and pasture-raised farmer and to inspire others to peruse this profound career.
And here is a fact: we need farmers and we need people who support farmers to do what they do."
More stories from Picture You in Agriculture can be found here.
More information about Corteva's Growing Young Leaders Program can be found here.
Read more about Lynne Strong, Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of PYIA here.