So its been a while but today I got to do one of my most favourite things in the world!! Ride my horse. There's nothing that quite beats it and there's not much that I enjoy more.
The 'old girl' as she is fondly called was meant to be in foal last year but things just didnt turn out in our favour, so she was looking a little rough around the edges when I got her in out of the paddock!
But with a quick haircut, she at least looked like someone owned her!
This week at Ask An Aussie Farmer we are celebrating the Australian Dairy Industry. The International Dairy Week is being celebrated in Tatura, Victoria and so we thought it was fitting to share in their celebrations.
"International Dairy Week (IDW) kicks off today - the biggest dairy expo in not just Australia but the Southern Hemisphere!
Throughout the week, dairy enthusiasts will descend on Tatura in the heart of Victoria's Goulburn Valley. Spectators will see cattle shows and judging from 175 exhibitors across 6 different breeds, judged by a panel of experts from all around the world. But it’s not just about cows, there will be 85 exhibitors showing their goods specific to the dairy industry as well as seminars and clinics ranging from getting youth involved in dairy showing right through to production and genetics. There is also the Devondale Watering Hole which focuses on promoting dairy products and dairy in the daily diet.
To celebrate IDW, Ask An Aussie Farmer is dedicating the rest of the week to dairy, Australia’s third biggest rural industry. We love our dairy farmers, and remember you can support them easily by buying brand name milk."
Did you know these wonderful things about the Australian Dairy Industry?
I find summer one of the most enjoyable times. The feed is generally in abundance, the livestock are looking fat and shiny, the weather is warm and one of my favourites, the summer storms. Theres nothing quite like a big dark cloud rolling in over summer pastures and the sultry grumble as it gets closer.
This is the view from my house to the East
And this is the view from my house to the north-west - the storms were everywhere!!
And thanks to the great seasons and plentiful rain, we've got plenty of water and lots of feed for the stock. This is the 'house dam', which is used just for my
garden and water at the stockyards and as a water source in the holding
paddock (which is just a small paddock where at the moment my horses are living).
Growing up, I was always involved with all things horses. Now times have come full circle and it is now my nieces and nephews are competing. This year I was lucky enough to drop by the Pony Camp and watch the kids giggle as they bounced over jumps, weave in and out in the bending races and kick their ponies along so much so you would think they would fly.
Sometimes at cringe at the speed and places these kids put themselves in and can't imagine what it wouldve been like for my own parents! I love the comradery and sportsmanship that comes with the territory of owning and loving and competing with horses. Theyre so much more, than 'just a horse'.
It’s exciting to see and even
more humbling and rewarding to sit a room full of Young Professionals in
Agriculture all from different backgrounds and yet all having a common and
united goal, “To start and keep the Agricultural conversation going”.
Costa Georgiadis opened the
forum, instilling enthusiasm and such a positive message into the room. Costa has been able to use ABC’s Gardening
Australia as a platform to reach those in urban Australia. ‘Agriculture is the
kitchen sink of the city’. The work that is being carried out in Bondi by
planting herb and vegetable gardens on the curbs of streets to involve
communities has demonstrated that its possible in urban areas. He believes in
looking at cultural barriers and going around them with vocabulary. Information
is just facts which leave a chasm of opportunity. It is the understanding and
passion of this information, that is knowledge. You need to use vocabulary in
order to engage with people. A perfect example of this is where instead of
creating a herb garden, a ‘herb maze’ was created. This engaged people as we
are inquisitive by nature, and encouraged people to find out what a ‘herb maze’
entailed as opposed to a simple old garden. Well nothing really. Simply some
bark chips for a footpath through the garden in a snail formation. It was the
same garden but it attracted and engaged the community.
I have worked extensively with
Ann Burbrook through the Young Farming Champions program, and she didn’t fail
to impress at the forum. Ann has a way of encouraging those that weren’t apart
of the five people in the room of around ninety, that put their hand up because
they enjoyed public speaking. Most of us are terrified by the very thought. To
speak in public, firstly you need the courage to get up there and then
secondly, the confidence to deliver your presentation with passion. It isn’t in
fact, about you. It’s about the audience and what you want them to be thinking,
feeling and doing. There are many factors in getting your audience to do what
you want. This includes your voice, your stance and of course your content.
What’s your message?
Tony Peacock, Chief Executive of
CRC, introduced the room to the world of Twitter and the merits it provides. We
learnt that as followers on twitter, we want posts to be informative, funny and
exciting. Not boring and arrogant. No real surprises there however we also
learnt that followers like to be challenged and questioned and don’t mind the
odd random thought.
We’re also doing a pretty good
job of communicating as scientists to other scientists, but we need to think
about how to communicate to producers so that it’s valuable to them and then in
turn to the community.
Brendan Fox spoke about Building
the Knowledge base and how to get value from the internet. Theres around 620
million spaces for information, so sorting through the valuable information can
sometimes be a challenge.
The Q & A Panel, though I
found most interesting. Most topics focussed on education, inspiration and
engagement for the Agricultural Industry as whole. Some topics covered were
that there are many jobs out there, but where are they and how do you find
them? Sustainability of agriculture and also branding of the industry and
individual in agriculture was discussed. One major concern was how to involve
kids to get a better understanding of the industry at a young age to encourage
curiosity as they grow up and leave school. The Young Farming Champions program
was a perfect example of how this is beginning to happen. The agricultural
sector needs to have more of a voice and to do that we need three key points to
market our ideas.
Overall the whole day was
incredibly inspirational and informative. I would like to thank the Sydney
University and Young Professionals in Agriculture team for getting the whole
day up and running and to those guest speakers who donated their time for the
day. I would also like to extend my gratitude to Australian Wool Innovation
(AWI) for giving me the opportunity to attend as part of my personal
development through the Young Farming Champions Program. I believe these are
the types of platforms people in the Agricultural Industry need to find and
attend as it’s an exciting industry to be a part of and we need to encourage
more to do so.
Shearing time!! One of my favourite times of year. I just love the buzz of the shed and the constant hum of the handpiece.
This year I was away during the later half of shearing for my Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champion visits in Sydney. I visited two schools and although they were 'chalk and cheese', I couldnt have enjoyed it more! The students are so responsive and quite often it is so far removed from what it is that they get to experience in their lives. And even if they have some 'experience' with Ag, the misconceptions are far and wide. I love having the opportunity to be able to engage with the next generation and hopefully I can spark some enthusiasm and curiosity in the wonderful industry of Agriculture!
This is a promo shot for my sponsor, Australian Wool Innovation. They have been amazing throughout the whole experience, and I cant thank them enough. They really do go over and above for us.