2022 APEN Amabel Fulton Award for Excellence in Extension by a Young Professional Joint Winner: Sarah Thompson, Dairy Australia
Sarah was given the award for her role in planning and delivering development activities for Dairy Australia that allow over 35 extension staff to connect, brainstorm, develop and excel in their extension roles and ultimately deliver targetted and impactful extension activities to dairy farmers.
Sarah organises the professional development of extension staff who are located regionally across the nation. She also coordinates the implementation of individuals development plans to ensure they have the necessary extension and technical skills to support on-farm practice change. In addition, Sarah ‘gives back’ to the industry through her role as an APEN Regional Coordinator.
Her peers spoke highly of her understanding of extension, proactive nature and ability to mentor staff older than herself. The panel were impressed with her comparative young age, responsibility of her role and the extension leadership demonstrated by Sarah. The panel also noted her experience in extension has equipped her to create learning opportunities for extension staff that are relevant and immediately applicable to their extension officer roles.
2022 APEN Award for Excellence in Extension by an Experienced Professional Joint Winner: Denise Bewsell, Scarlatti NZ
Denise was given the award because of her contribution to extension through leading an extension design project within a New Zealand Primary Growth Partnership called the Red Meat Profit Partnership. The project was responsible for ground breaking action-research and the development of a farmer-led, small group learning model. She then led a team to build a network of farm action groups.
The Action Group extension model designed and implemented by Denise and her team was described as ‘gold standard’. This extension model is continually referenced and used to shape the design of other extension programmes at both national and international scale, and in addition, is influencing thinking about change and continuing to contribute to on-farm practice change.
Denise ‘walks the talk’ and always models best extension and facilitation practice. Her peers spoke highly of her initiative, attention to detail, impeccable research skills and passion for extension and learning. They also spoke about her ability to look outside the box and bring in new ideas. The panel were impressed by how this extension model is continuing to influence extension practice globally. The panel were also impressed by Denise’s passion for learning and extension and how she was revered by her peers.
A Highly Commended certificate for the 2022 APEN Award for Excellence in Extension was presented to Melissa Sowden, Silver Fern Farms NZ.
Melissa has developed and delivered New Zealand’s only red meat quality extension programme over the past 5 years. Melissa’s work linked farm systems change to market research in a way that enhances our understanding of beef eating quality so sales and marketing programmes could grow.
2022 APEN Amabel Fulton Award for Excellence in Extension by a Young Professional Joint Winner: Jodie Ward, Dept Agriculture and Fisheries, Qld
Jodie was given the award for her dedication and commitment to extension which she enthusiastically displays and passes on to all who meet her.
She is a part of the FutureBeef Project team. FutureBeef aims to share the latest practical tools, scientific insights and, relevant, timely advice through coordinated online delivery tailored for the northern Australian beef industry. Recently she has actively worked with Meat & Livestock Australia’s Research and Development Committee to deliver professional development activities to upskill advisers within the beef industry. She has also used her extension skills to support the Queensland Government in disaster recovery and COVID activities.
Jodie has sought to develop her social media and social video skills which she has used to communicate broadly across the industry, through the creation of engaging content that addresses the needs of her audience. Others now come to Jodie for advice on the structure and content of social media. Her peers spoke highly of her initiative, positive ‘can do’ attitude, and an ability to ‘sort out ‘problems and identify solutions. The panel were impressed by her commitment to on-going professional development and her commitment to working with stakeholders to understand their needs and provide them with a clear proposition and steps for them in considering the adoption of a new practice.
2022 APEN Award for Excellence in Extension by an Experienced Professional Joint Winner: Warwick Waters, Cotton Research and Development Corporation/CottonInfo
Warwick was given the award for contribution to extension through his role as Program Manager for CottonInfo, where he is responsible for coordinating the activities of extension specialists and technical (scientific) experts to connect the cotton industry (growers and service providers) with research.
Warwick has an innovative approach to extension in his role as Program Manager for the CottonInfo Team, delivering a cutting edge extension approach within the Australian cotton industry. CottonInfo connects growers, agronomists and consultants – providing the latest news, information, events and research to support the cotton industry’s implementation and ongoing development of best practice.
Warwick ‘thinks outside the box’. He was described as ‘a breath of fresh air’, through his passion for extension and a deep knowledge and understanding of theory. His peers spoke highly of his ability to help others understand and apply theory, to think about ‘the why’, and to think about design in order to increase the effectiveness of extension. The panel were impressed by how Warwick was revered by his staff, researchers and individuals external to CottonInfo.
For the 2022 Conference the APEN Amabel Fulton Awards were sponsored by Coutts J&R and the APEN Award for Experienced Professionals by Hort Innovation. Their support is greatly appreciated.
2019 APEN Award for Excellence in Extension by an Experienced Professional was Awarded to Sophie Lapsley for contribution to extension through her work as Coordinator with the Vegetable Industry and Education Training Initiative (VegPRO)
Sophie’s work with VegPRO provided many insights into how farmers want to learn, which is relevant for extension. Key points on what they were looking for, applicable to extension are:
- Timing of courses/events to fit in with the production schedule
- Content has to be specific to what those who attend want to learn
- Respected trainers who understand the latest technologies, as well as adult learning and can be ‘hands on’ are most important to effective training and extension
- Focused short courses and workshops are preferable to full VET certificates
- Trainers skills, knowledge and aptitude were most important, more an e.g. a VET trainer accreditation
- Practical, current information was preferred over theoretical knowledge; theoretical topics have to be brought into context of vegetable production
- Preferences were for 1-day workshops with time available at the beginning or end of the day so that urgent work tasks could be attended to on the day
- Courses delivered locally not in urban areas
- There was a demand for courses in languages other than English (L.O.T.E)
- Not everyone likes online training but feedback from those who took VegPRO courses online was positive. They saw the benefits of being able to take their time completing the course and thus making it easier to fit it around their work.
|Open||Simon Sankey||For his contribution to extension and in mentoring extension professionals through his work with DairyNZ|
|Open||Cam Nicholson||For his contribution to extension design, delivery and governance in the fields of livestock production, cropping and Natural Resource Management|
|Young Professional||Robbie Commens||For his contribution to extension through his work in the Australian Macadamia industry|
|Open||Neil Guise and SLIS Team, Nancye Gannaway, Yolandee Jones and Heidi Blackburn||For their contribution to extension through the Small Landholder Information Service|
|Lauren Rickards||For her contribution to extension as a consultant to the BCG, Meat Livestock Australia, Grain and Graze Program and many others|
|Open||Mark Paine||Contribution to dairy extension across Australia and New Zealand|
|Young Professional||Fiona Best||For her work as Extension Coordinator for the Birchip Cropping Group Inc (BCG)|
|Open||Neale Price||Contribution to the roll out of MLA & VicDPI EDGENetwork and to Extension|
|Young Professional||Laura Schibrowski||The Effectiveness of the MIA EnviroWise Approach to Community Engagement Project|
|Open||Fiona Johnson||Practice Change|
|Young Professional||Jess Jennings||Profitable Pasture Project|
|Open||Cathy McGowan and Cheryl Phillips||Women in Dairy Project|
|Young Professional||Kathryn Egerton-Warburton||Woolpro and Bestprac, the application of Continuous Improvement and Innovation|
|Open||Ian Simpson||Producer network of the Sustainable Grazing Systems project|