Monthly Archives November 2019

Future Farmers Network directors regularly give their opinion on the latest news, events and issues in agriculture for an article for Australian Community Media. Here’s the most recent yarn from director Richard Kohne. 

It is common for farming families to send their kids to their local capital cities for a formal education.

As they progress through school and sometimes university, opportunities arise that attract them to jobs in new industries and locations. Ultimately however, it seems these kids come to realise that life on the farm and in the country is in their blood and they look to return.

For some this may be as simple as calling their parents and asking for a job, but for others this option doesn’t exist.

So, what can the youth in agriculture do to get back on the farm? The increasing corporatisation of farming in the past decade has seen record levels of capital descending onto farmlands, contributing to a steady increase of land prices, which unfortunately now seem out of reach for most young farmers.

This is made more difficult by the unwillingness of most banks to provide loans to younger farmers who can’t demonstrate a history of profitable operations and likely do not have a material amount of collateral. It appears therefore that the traditional owner-operator model isn’t going to work for these young entrants.

Operating under a lease model removes the need for upfront capital however does not provide long-term certainty for the farmer over their land access and leases with an option to buy only deferring this requirement for capital (unless the farm has been extremely profitable during the lease period).

Share farming is another arrangement available, similar to the lease operating model however, instead of paying fixed charges farmers enter into a risk-weighted, profit-sharing arrangement. Again, unfortunately this does not provide land ownership unless a specific equity mechanism has been agreed and often young farmers feel they aren’t provided the autonomy required to influence results.

Perhaps a solution exists in history. Following the First World War, a soldier settlement scheme was implemented in each state to place servicemen who had fought overseas on Australian farms.

While the program was not perfect it does provide a concept worth exploring today.
While there may not be surplus farming land available for allotment, a government-funded program where individuals meeting certain criteria are provided with a long-term loan to purchase proven productive agricultural properties will greatly assist young farmers.

The loan might have annual key performance indicators to ensure the farms are staying viable and the land value is being preserved.

While the Agristarter Loans pledge is aimed to assist young farmers in a similar way to this, it appears to require a level of corporate debt to be obtained. Investing in a dedicated funding scheme of this nature would mesh with the current government’s goal to build vibrant rural and regional communities across Australia by increasing participation in farming.



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Want to attend the Australian Dairy Conference in Melbourne next year but budget feeling the pinch? Then you’ve come to the right spot! FFN and ADC are giving out not ONE but TWO complimentary tickets!

It’s time to get inventive! We want to know…

Why do you want the dairy industry to be your future?

And you can tell us any old way you like! Write it, video it, photograph it, sing it – we really don’t mind! Just as long as you either EMAIL it to or POST IT to social media and tag FUTURE FAMERS NETWORK & AUSTRALIAN DAIRY CONFERENCE, you’ll be in with a shot!

Oh two more things – we need you to be a FFN Member (sign up here) and we need your entry by 10 January 2019 pretty please!

Want more good news? For the first time ADC is offering a ‘Young Farmer’ registration for Australian dairy farmers aged under the age of 40 for only $440 (early bird farmer registration is $770).

Young dairy farmers around Australia are encouraged to consider the Australian Dairy Conference as a key forum to enhance and advance their career. ADC President and Tasmanian dairy farmer Ben Geard said that ADC was aiming to make Australia’s premier dairy event more appealing to the next generation of dairy leaders by making attendance both more affordable and accessible.

“ADC is a forum for farmers by farmers hence topics are specifically directed towards knowledge acquisition and advancement however the biggest value is about the people you meet from fellow farmers through to CEOs and global innovators.

“I think many young farmers probably don’t consider ADC a forum for them. However attending can really broaden your horizons and as a result we are opening up opportunities to encourage them to attend,” he said.

Only 40 young farmer tickets at $440 (GST inclusive) are available via an application process. Apply now here!

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Article excerpt provided by SuperFriend and Sunsuper, a valued partner of FFN. 

Major events like relationship break-ups or the death of a loved one can be life-changing. However, if an entire community goes through a challenging period, such as the droughts and bushfires we’re currently seeing, we need to work together as a community to lighten the load for each other.

Shared experience provides the opportunity for communities to come together in a way they may not do so otherwise. It is this connectedness that benefits our community and there are ways we can all encourage this connection, as a protective layer against the feeling of helplessness and despair.

If someone is doing it really tough – ask how you can help

Experiences that aren’t within our control often leave people feeling powerless. Something that can help a friend, neighbour or member of your community to restore some sense of control in their life is to ask their permission for anything that you do. This will also allow them to direct you to the most effective way you could provide support. The act of giving support to someone else is also one of the proven ways to improve your own wellbeing.

Give yourself permission to feel how you feel

Feelings of loss and sadness – even if they are not your own – can challenge us personally, as it is natural to share the pain of others. These feelings are completely normal at any time, and even more so during difficult circumstances. Your experience will be as unique as you are and there is no right or wrong way to go through trying times. Give yourself permission to feel how you feel and remind yourself that it will get easier.

 Know what to do when you’re not feeling good

Not feeling good is your trigger to pick up the phone, text or go and visit someone you know. Even a short chat can bring us back to the present moment and away from feelings of worry. Everyone will have different coping mechanisms, so it’s important to know what yours are. Often people find that doing something practical gets them out of their heads. Practising mindfulness using an app like Smiling Mind or Headspace can get you ready for those times you need to focus on the present rather than dwelling on the past or future.

Care for yourself
Sometimes it can be tough to help others. It can leave us feeling tired, sad or low. It’s as important to care for yourself as it is to care for those around you. An important part of this is knowing what your limits are. We all have limits to our time, our energy and our skills. By knowing the limit of what you can do, and by not going beyond that limit, you can avoid doing damage to yourself and the other person.

Find support when you need it

The mental health sector has developed excellent resources which collate helpful information around how to cope with natural disasters. We would encourage anyone impacted by the bushfires to familiarise yourself with these materials if you have an opportunity to do so.

Learn from the experts

SuperFriend is Sunsuper’s workplace wellbeing partner and together we support employers to build mentally healthy workplaces for their staff. Visit and head to the ‘Resource’ section to download a number of free resources including ‘Building Thriving Workplaces’ booklet.

Support tools to help in times of natural disaster




Beyond Blue

 Legal Aid NSW


Access EAP


NSW Natural Disaster Assistance


QLD Recovery after a disaster


Key national 24/7 crisis support services include:

Lifeline  13 11 14

Suicide Call Back Service  1300 659 467

MensLine Australia  1300 789 978

Beyond Blue 1300 224 636


Key Youth Support Services include:

Kids Helpline  1800 55 1800




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Did you miss out on this year’s Young Beef Producers Forum in Roma, Queensland?

Catch up on some of our favourite presentations from the two-day event here, thanks to our pals at AuctionsPlus.


YBPF 2019

Posted by AuctionsPlus on Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Posted by AuctionsPlus on Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Posted by AuctionsPlus on Thursday, 14 November 2019

Posted by AuctionsPlus on Thursday, 14 November 2019

YBPF Day 2

Posted by AuctionsPlus on Thursday, 14 November 2019

Posted by AuctionsPlus on Thursday, 14 November 2019

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The world of agriculture has become increasingly complex and sophisticated. Global demand for food and fibre products is continuously increasing. With new markets, emerging technologies, globalisation of trade, climate change and sustainability, comes new opportunities.

Australia’s agricultural industry needs passionate professionals who are ready to help navigate these future markets. Professionals like Anika Molesworth. Anika is a thought leader, keynote speaker and researcher in international agricultural development. She’s won many agricultural awards, including the 2018 NSW/ACT Regional Achievement and Community Award for Agricultural Innovation. Anika is also a two-time Charles Sturt University graduate.

“I have an unwavering love for what I do. Rural Australia is so beautiful, yet so fragile. The people in these places are so resilient, yet so vulnerable. I have great conviction for my cause – to create truly sustainable and resilient food and farming systems. I want to see healthy landscapes supporting prosperous farm businesses and vibrant rural communities. My future depends on it, and so does the future of the next generation of farmers.”

Anika’s interest in agriculture and sustainability began after she witnessed a decade-long drought on her family’s sheep farm near Broken Hill in far western New South Wales. She later began a career seeking ways to build resilience in fragile farming systems and help rural communities stay vibrant.

“I wanted to make a positive difference to a sector I care deeply about. To do that I knew I would have to get the right skills in my tool belt.”

Anika studied both a Bachelor of Agribusiness and a Master of Sustainable Agriculture with Charles Sturt University. And it was these experiences that helped shape how she approached her career.

“My time with Charles Sturt equipped me with critical and creative perspectives. It fostered systems thinking and encouraged me to never stop exploring and questioning. I was given some fantastic abilities and a knowledge bank I’ve been able to take out into the world.”

As part of her master’s, Anika joined a project with the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. She moved to the town of Savannaket in Southern Laos to develop her understanding of Southeast Asian farming systems. Her research included investigating how farms were adapting to climate change.

Anika’s interest in climate change saw her establish Climate Wise Agriculture. This is a knowledge sharing platform that helps to facilitate the transfer of information and skills regarding climate change and farming.

Anika also helped establish Farmers for Climate Action. The organisation is an alliance of farmers and leaders in agriculture who work to ensure Australia takes the actions necessary to address climate damage and supports the farming community. Since its launch, the group has built a tremendous network of supporters, run climate smart masterclasses and sent delegations to Parliament House to discuss best strategies for a bright farming future.

Are you ready to be part of a new era in agriculture like Anika? Discover Charles Sturt University’s wide range of agricultural and wine science undergrad and postgrad coursesFind out more.


Charles Sturt University is a valued partner of Future Farmers Network 

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Not one but TWO Future Farmers Network members attended the Women in Agribusiness & Primary Industries Leadership Summit in Sydney on October 23-24 for free.

Kiri Rogan, Associate New Ventures | Agribusiness, PricewaterhouseCoopers

Check out her thoughts on the conference here! 

Who is she? Kiri grew up on the mid north coast of NSW. Travelling long distances to attend horse riding events as a child and teenager, she fell in love with rural Australia. She is currently working for PwC Sydney in the Innovation & Ventures team, where she works on anti-counterfeit and traceability platform (PwC’s Food Trust Platform). Their goal is to mitigate the risk of food fraud in domestic and international markets, and to bridge the connection between producers and consumers. She is passionate about breaking down the rural and city divide, and giving Australian farmers a voice. It excites her that the platform they are building will allow producers to communicate directly with their end customer.
Who was she most excited to hear from? “I am most keen to hear from is Krista Watkins, co-founder and Managing Director of Natural Evolution. Krista comes across to me as someone who has ‘challenged the status quo’ and is positively disrupting the food industry. As an industry, we are standing at a point in time where we can no longer continue the mentality of ‘business as usual’; we need women like Krista who re-imagine and reshape the way the food industry operates.”
Emily Southwell – Assistant Relationship Manager, Westpac Agribusiness

Check out her thoughts on the conference here! 

Who is she? Emily grew up in Narrabri, NSW and has been interested in agriculture for as long as she can remember. Having grown up in the ‘millennium drought’, she decided to head towards a career in sustainable agriculture. A key part of sustainable ag is the ability to strategically plan for and finance different initiatives, be it efficient irrigation technology, carbon sequestration or succession planning, hence, why she has landed a career in agribusiness banking. Emily has worked for Westpac Agribusiness, as an Assistant Relationship Manager in Tamworth NSW since 2016.
Who was she most excited to hear from? “I’d be most keen to hear from Lorraine Gordon, specifically in relation to her work in regenerative agriculture and valuing natural capital. If we’re going to combat the impact of climate change on agribusiness & primary industries, we can’t sit around and wait for government policy to save us. I am passionate about the role that private enterprise (e.g. lending institutions and insurance companies) can play in encouraging more sustainable land management.”

Thanks to our partner Liquid Learning for giving our members the opportunity to attend.

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Dear Members,

The Future Farmers Network Annual General Meeting will be held in Roma, QLD on Thursday 14 November 2019. If you are unable to attend the AGM, FFN encourages you to submit a proxy by November 12 to ensure your voting entitlements are executed.

You will find the following AGM documents attached:



Commencing at 4:45pm on Thursday 14 November 2019

This meeting is to be held at:

Roma Cultural Centre (Ernest Brock Room), 18 Quentin Street, Roma, QLD, 4555.

FFN is calling for Director Nominations for a two-year term of appointment.

As per the FFN Constitution, a maximum of 11 Directors is permissible.

Under FFN’s terms of appointment, there are six (6) positions vacated and to be filled at the 2019 AGM


Voting will be conducted in person in 2019.

All meeting material and voting information will be distributed prior to the AGM.

In person voting will be via AGM attendance at 4:45pm on Thursday 14 November 2019 at Roma Cultural Centre (Ernest Brock Room), 18 Quentin Street, Roma QLD, 4555.

The items of business for the 2019 AGM shall be:

1. Welcome

2. Registration of attendees and apologies

3. Adoption of Minutes of 2018 Annual General Meeting

4. Receival and consideration of the Directors Report and Financials for the year ended 30 June 2018

5. Election of Directors

6. General Business

Please direct all enquiries regarding the AGM to Jamie-Lee Oldfield, Future Farmers Network Executive Officer on 0429933926 or

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