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YOUTH AG-SUMMIT:’Thought leaders’ consider farming’s future

Your guide to our coverage of the Canberra conference

(Lisa Guenther photo)

Sustainability, leadership and innovation in agriculture guided four days of learning, debating and discussion among young “thought leaders” from 33 countries at this week’s Youth Ag-Summit.

The event, held in Canberra, Australia from Aug. 24 to 27, and organized by Bayer CropScience and the Australian youth organization Future Farmers Network, was set up to build on the inaugural summit held in 2013 in Calgary.

Themed “How to feed a hungry planet?,” this week’s event was built up from a projection that by 2050, over nine billion people will live on the planet — but with even less agricultural land available to produce food.

Also in Australia during the conference were Grainews/Country Guide field editors Lisa Guenther and Scott Garvey, who over this week heard, spoke to, photographed and filmed the delegates, their mentors, conference speakers and organizers at work — and we’ve linked to their reports, photos and videos here.

Video: Mentoring future farmers

Summit organizers explain why mentoring future farmers is important — and discuss what they expect the summit’s youth delegates to take away from the event.

Video: Food challenges in focus

Here we see summit moderator Simon Pampena put the spotlight on Pu Hu, one of the event’s youth delegates.

Video: One representative’s perspective

Lisa meets Lexi Salt, who as an Ontario student attended the Calgary conference as a youth delegate, and this week served as an alumni mentor.

Video: Granddaughter of the revolution

Here Lisa meets with Norman Borlaug’s granddaughter Julie Borlaug. Norman Borlaug, who died in 2009, is credited with starting the “green revolution” of the 1960s. The younger Borlaug talks about the activities of the institute that now bears his name — and what she sees as the future of agriculture.

Video: How Australian ag benefits from biotech

Belinda Cay of the Grains Research and Development Corporation of Australia discusses how new crop varieties have improved yields on that continent, including on her own family’s farm.

Two to represent

Coming out of the conference, two delegates — Australia’s Laura Grubb and Kenya’s Samba Ouma — were picked by their peers to travel to Rome later this fall to present the delegates’ joint effort, the Canberra Youth Ag Declaration, at a meeting of the United Nations’ Committee on World Food Security.

Photo gallery: A role for research

Delegates visit the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) station at Ginninderra, on the north side of Canberra, and learn more about wheat breeding, precision agriculture, integrated weed management, broad acre cropping, and livestock/sheep production and welfare.

“I believe that young people have so much potential to contribute to solutions on global and local food challenges,” FFN chair Georgie Aley said in a release ahead of the conference.

“Australia is a key country in terms of modern agriculture and an ideal host for this event,” Bernd Naaf, member of the board of management for Bayer CropScience, said in the same release.

“We are very proud to have such bright minds and great organizations on board to commonly build a sustainable global network of future leaders and strong partners in agriculture.” — Network


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