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Youth Ag Summit

This article is by Sarah Crofoot, Meat & Fibre Policy Adviser and originally appeared in the National Farming Review, New Zealand.

Put your hand up for the YOUTH AG SUMMIT

Are you young, passionate and concerned about the future sustainability of agriculture and how we are going to feed a hungry planet?

Bayer New Zealand is looking for two youth delegates to represent New Zealand at the Global Youth Ag-Summit in the European capital of Brussels in Belgium, during October 2017.

Last year I had the privilege of attending the Global Youth Ag-Summit in Canberra, Australia. I was fortunate to be one of 100 delegates, from 33 countries selected to be part of this fantastic initiative.

Everyone was between 18 and 25 and they were some of the brightest,most passionate young people I have ever come across. There was a rich diversity of backgrounds, views, education and experience, but we were all connected through a common desire to help feed a hungry planet.

It is a fantastic opportunity to be able to share ideas and debate issues with young fresh, innovative thinkers on a global platform. Interspersed with the fantastic discussions with delegates and mentors were some world-class speakers, a field trip and fantastic social events.

The week’s discussion which started with the themes from our application essays as a base led to the creation of the Canberra Youth-Ag Declaration. Our declaration was taken by two of the delegates and presented at the UN Committee on World Food Security in Rome.

National Farming Review Young Ag Summit Bayer Crop Science

The declaration included solutions and actions for each of the five priority themes. These were themes we felt as young people we could have the biggest immediate impact in helping to feed a hungry planet:

  • Education and skills building — develop a fair and open multichannel platform for formal and informal educators in the agriculture industry to build greater skills through ongoing education.
  • Communicate the value of agriculture careers and farming — globally promote the importance of agriculture and enhance the image of farmers and the breadth of opportunities in the agriculture industry.
  • Promote socially acceptable and responsible consumption — empower consumers to directly improve the sustainability of supply chins by developing educational platforms and resources which promote utilisation of current resources and social change.
  • R&D and innovation for sustainable intensification and new production systems — create a global network that links young innovators to agricultural needs to drive information, sharing and funding solutions.
  • Foster personal and organisational leadership — boost youth leadership skills and impact through membership of various youth organisations to provide experience, mentorship and support for their vision.

Each delegate and mentor developed ‘3 little things’. These were actions we could take back to our countries and communities to do our bit to keep the ideas from the summit progressing and play our role in helping to feed a hungry planet.

The buzz and energy throughout the summit was very special. A crucial part of this is the strong connections that were formed, providing a network to support one another, develop our ideas and inspire our generation. It is great to see that one year on, this network is going from strength to strength and great progress has been made on all the ‘3 little things’.

If this sounds like something you want to be part of, essay applications are accepted online until January 13, 2017. Find out more about the application process and the Summit at www.youthagsummit.com.