Youth and experience – the passionate voices of international ag development

August 24, 2020

Today, we are sharing what we think are really engaging videos that have finally hit YouTube. They feature some of the rising stars of ag for food and nutrition security, and the university mentors and leaders helping them along their way. While COVID-19 isolation meant the videos were not quite filmed as planned, in the field, we think they tell a great story of the impact of working in ag for development – impacts on the individuals, on the countries in which they worked and for Australia.

These videos add to the impressive cache of wonderful blogs our younger cohort have delivered as part of our boosted efforts, supported by ACIAR, to encourage the next generation of researchers, volunteers and students into the international ag development world.

Young Voices in International Agricultural Development features four keen NextGen-ers – all RAID Network members – talking about what it’s like working for food and nutrition security in Laos, Cambodia and Indonesia. Hear from Matt Champness, Maddison Clonan, Jillian Lyall and Jack Hetherington about their experiences working, studying and volunteering overseas and discover how you can get involved.

You will also find another nine clips of our Young Voices on our Youtube site.

“I grew so much from the experience…” – Maddison Clonan, former Crawford Fund scholar, awardee and RAID State Representative of the Year 2019.

“In terms of what I got out of it, it’s just so much, so much experience. I got to hang out with really experienced plant pathologists and entomologists and just absolutely increase my knowledge base in a way that I just hadn’t expected.” – Jillian Lyall, volunteer vegetable plant pathologist in the Crawford Fund’s Laos project, Australian Volunteers Program.

Environment Matters: Featuring Emma Zalcman, Sam Coggins and Harry Campbell-Ross from The Crawford Fund is a longer offering showcasing NextGen Australians in discussion with the Crawford Fund’s chair and former Deputy Prime Minister, John Anderson AO. The video is a wide-ranging hour-long feature covering everything from career pathways; the impact of climate change on agriculture; genetically modified crops and food waste to consumer preferences and agriculture in different cultures.

You can also see Tamaya Peressini, Sam Coggins and Harry Campbell-Ross in action, in short pieces edited from longer videos that were kindly produced by ACIAR on How to Get Involved in International Ag ResearchWhy Ag Research is a Good Career Choice, and Why International Ag Research is Important.

“What I love about international agricultural research is the diversity of people you get to work with, you can pull on your work boots and work with farmers in a field, you can pull on a suit and work with policy makers in a boardroom or you can put on a lab coat and work with scientists in Australia and overseas…you get to travel to unique places…it’s just so stimulating.” – Sam Coggins, former Crawford Fund awardee and ACIAR graduate.

“… I am in exactly the right place, where I work, and the industry I work in, really, really makes a difference, and it’s just so lovely to see that.” – Harry Campbell-Ross, former Crawford Fund scholar and now ACIAR graduate.

Why choose agriculture for development? highlights the experiences of members of the Australian Council of Deans of Agriculture, and their insights into why they think students should take on studies and careers in agriculture for development.

“The students can contribute directly to help solving important world issues that have implications for global security and even human health.” – Professor Bronwyn Barkla, Director Southern Cross Plant Science, Southern Cross University

“International agricultural research has really enabled me to expand and develop my career beyond where it would have done if I had of just stayed within Australia.” – Associate Professor Sarita Bennett, Discipline Lead Agriculture and Food, School of Molecular and Life Sciences, Curtin University.

“We will always need to eat, and therefore it is always likely we will need jobs in agriculture. For me it has been a fantastic career. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested…” – Professor Tony O’Donnell, Executive Dean, Faculty of Science, University of Western Australia.

“If you aspire to study in this area, well it’s all good news, there’s at least five career opportunities out there for every Australian agricultural graduate…” – Prof Jason Able, Head, Department of Agriculture, University of Adelaide.

Thank you to the young researchers and ACDA members who participated in this initiative. They all filmed their own videos under COVID-19 conditions! And, also thanks to the Crawford Fund student awardees, trainers and staff who provided the photos featured in the videos.

A particularly huge thank you to all our NextGen contributors – as you can see, their passionate and honest reflections are refreshing and hopefully will inspire more students to follow their paths.