Lynne Strong’s family has been dairy farming in Australia since 1831, but Lynne had a 25 year diversion as a pharmacist before rising as a powerful force in Australian agriculture. Working from home - Clover Hill Dairies at Jamberoo in New South Wales - Lynne is the director of Art4Agriculture, a team who uses collaboration to share the story of agriculture through the brilliant young people working within it, and to empower those young people by putting them at the centre of the learning experience and into leadership roles.
For the past 10 years Lynne and the Art4 Agriculture team have been designing and delivering programs connecting farmers to the community, with the two cornerstone programs being Young Farming Champions and The Archibull Prize.
The Young Farming Champions (YFC) program seeks out and trains the best and brightest young agricultural professionals and gives them skills to share their ideas, dreams and motivations. Alumni of the program include 2015 Young Australian of the Year Anika Molesworth and 2017 Australian Geographic Young Conservationist of the Year Josh Gilbert.
As part of their training the YFC go into schools with The Archibull Prize to mentor primary and secondary students. The schools are provided with a life-sized fibreglass cow and armed with a paint kit. They research a specific farming industry and design their cow to express their findings and learnings. These extraordinary art works are then presented to a judging panel and ultimately displayed in the community to foster further conversations. Archies, as they are known, have even been present at free-trade agreement discussions with China, and can be seen residing outside the offices of politicians.
Along with their creative cows, students develop multi-media presentations and explore complex issues such as climate change, biosecurity, renewable energy and the competition for our precious natural resources. The YFC are important components of The Archibull Prize, giving students first-hand accounts of life on the land and encouraging them to explore their own careers within agriculture.
“I get out of bed every morning to help young people thrive in business and life. The way I do that is to surround myself with a wonderful group of very creative people who help me design, develop and deliver innovative programs that allow farmers and consumers to reconnect, have conversations and discover they have a lot in common. I believe partnerships and collaboration are the solution to many of the big challenges in agriculture. Just imagine what we could achieve if we all worked together across sectors, across industries, across communities to pool resources, pool thinking, pool skills, to enhance, for the benefit of all.”