Young Aucklander to tackle global food security

Cattle breeder and environmental educator Courtney Davies hopes to create opportunities for global food security using technology

Dairy Flat cattle breeder and environmental educator Courtney Davies is set to present Kiwi ideas and solutions for tackling global food security on the world stage.


The 23-year-old, who teaches students about sustainability and the environment through virtual reality, will represent New Zealand at the Bayer Youth Ag Summit in Brasília, Brazil, from 4 to 6 November.

Courtney will be one of 100 young participants from 45 countries attending the Summit, which is part of Bayer’s Agricultural Education Program. The Summit, run in partnership with Nuffield Brazil, brings together young change-makers aged 18 to 25 to tackle the challenges of how to feed a growing population by 2050.

“I’m especially looking forward to collaborating with some of the brightest young innovators from around the world,” says Courtney. “Given the calibre of previous Youth Ag Summits, I know there will be some incredible ideas explored for solving food security problems.”

As part of the application process to attend the Youth Ag Summit, Courtney pitched ideas on how to tackle food insecurity in context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Her ideas are focused around creating accessible education opportunities in agriculture for young people by utilising technology such as virtual reality. “I hope to be able to create opportunities using technology to enable every young person in New Zealand to take a look into agriculture, especially if they physically can’t get onto a farm.

We can bring science and agriculture to young people and enable them to get more involved with our changing agricultural landscape.”Courtney is an award-winning Ayrshire cattle breeder, which she runs from the family lifestyle block in Dairy Flat, Auckland.

In 2016, she won a Blake Ambassador Freshwater internship at NIWA working on understanding the link between urbanisation and dairy science. Courtney has won numerous academic and agricultural awards and holds ambassador or representative roles with several organisations.

These include: New Zealand Rural Ambassador, Northern District Rural Ambassador, councillor and youth representative, Royal Agriculture Society Next-Generation portfolio holder as well as the National Stock Judging/Parading Champion (Dairy, Beef, Fleece, Poultry and Merino).

This year’s crop of 100 delegates attending the Youth Ag Summit includes entrepreneurs, farmers, students, plant scientists, and economists. Their ideas focused on tackling challenges as varied as gender equality, sustainable agriculture, youth education, food waste, and climate change.

For the chosen delegates, the Youth Ag Summit will function as an idea incubator, helping them turn their ideas into reality and equipping them with the skills needed to realise their projects. They will also hear from expert speakers and participate in field trips to learn more about the agricultural industry in Brazil.

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