BEAUFORT'S Jessica Kirkpatrick is one of four young farming enthusiasts embarking on a mission to promote the importance of the nation's grains industry.
Grains analyst Jessica Kirkpatrick joins graingrower Daniel Fox, PhD student Rebecca Thistlethwaite and agriculture student Diana George as the winners of the Grains Research and Development Corporation-sponsored grains sector section of the 2014 Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champions program.
The four will promote their passion for the grains industry when visiting schools throughout Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria over the coming year.
Among 20 young farmers from across Australia selected as ambassadors on behalf of a range of agricultural industries, they will also have the opportunity to participate in a comprehensive and diverse array of initiatives offered by Art4Agriculture's supporting partners, including the GRDC.
GRDC's capacity building program manager Kathleen Allan said the 2014 Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champions initiative provided valuable professional development opportunities for young people in the grains industry and increased awareness amongst school children of the importance of agriculture and the range of career opportunities in the sector.
"The GRDC is very supportive of programs such as Art4Agriculture which draw positive attention to the grains industry and highlight the career paths it has to offer, as well as providing a chance for young people to develop their confidence and capabilities," Ms Allan said.
"Building skills and capacity within the grains sector is a key focus of the GRDC which recognises the real need to encourage more young people to choose a rewarding career in this vibrant and progressive industry.
"The Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champions program is part of an exciting portfolio of programs that GRDC invests in to provide a range of skills and capacity building activities for current and potential future members of the Australian grains industry."
The Young Farming Champions are being enlisted to help ensure consumers have confidence and trust in modern farming practices.
They will be involved in the Art4Agriculture Archibull Prize which engages primary and secondary school students in agricultural and environmental awareness through art, design, creativity and teamwork. This innovative program celebrates the role Australian farmers play in feeding families in Australia and around the world.
Participating schools will be provided with a blank, life-sized fibreglass cow for students to create an artwork on or to use as the subject of an artwork which focuses on the theme: "What does it take to feed and clothe your community for a day sustainably?"
Each school will be paired with a Young Farming Champion who will share their farming journey and work with the students throughout the duration of the project.
Ms Kirkpatrick is a 19-year-old university student, grains analyst and stud sheep breeder. Her family has been farming near Beaufort for 150 years. With aspirations of a career as a grains agronomist, Jessica is studying a Bachelor of Agricultural Science in Wagga Wagga, NSW.
More information about the Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champions program can be found at www.art4agriculture.com.au