Today’s guest blog post comes from Kate Lumber who is a passionate young agriculturalist from Tamworth NSW.
Grand Champion Parader, Dorrigo Show 2011
This is Kate’s story…………………………….
Agriculture runs in my blood.
Dad and me
Both sides of my family are off the land but growing up I lived in town. I was very fortunate to have open access to family properties and I developed a strong love for Agriculture as a result. I grew up on the Liverpool Plains in Northern NSW, one of the most productive agricultural regions in Australia and so from a young age I was exposed to both cropping and livestock production. And it was here that I developed a passion for agriculture and the lifestyle it provided.
Quirindi Pony Camp aged 14
Beautiful view of the pastures
Horse riding at my Uncle’s property “Colly Plains North” Quirindi, NSW.
I have always been a lover of animals. I have ridden horses all my life and have shown steers and stud cattle for over five years, both of which I still enjoy. I was fortunate enough to attend McCarthy Catholic College in Tamworth for my secondary schooling and absolutely loved it. I had some fantastic teachers that really encouraged me and fostered my development in Agriculture. I began to show cattle in year nine because a friend of mine decided to join the Show Team. Aside from the animal husbandry and practical skills I gained from this I have also been lucky enough to meet and network with some amazing people. I learnt key skills in public speaking and became heavily involved in junior judging competitions and thoroughly enjoyed paraders and handling classes. I have competed at many shows with great success but my highlights would have to be qualifying for NSW State Finals at the Sydney Royal Easter Show in Beef Cattle Paraders, Fleece Judging and Pig Judging. Through these ventures I was exposed to many fantastic opportunities and role models in livestock production.
Fleece Judging State Final and Sydney Royal Easter Show 2010.
I was awarded the Primary Industry Centre for Science Education (PICSE) Scholarship in 2011 by the University of New England, which truly broadened my horizons in terms of career options in Agriculture and tertiary studies options. Prior to completing the student camp and Industry placement I was set on studying Veterinary Science but came out with knowledge of so many new and exciting career opportunities in Agriculture that I had never even considered. I fell in love with the University and was very impressed with the facilities and naturally worked towards my goal of entering tertiary study at UNE after completing my Higher School Certificate. I was also selected as one of ten high school students nationally to attend the 2011 PICSE Think Tank Forum in Canberra. This was a fantastic opportunity to meet and network with passionate like-minded students and well respected Industry leaders. We addressed issues facing the Agricultural Industry in Australia such as food security and the growing population. This forum truly inspired me to be someone that would make a positive impact on the industry and be a part of the generation of agriculturalists to address these issues.
On Industry Placement at the Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit (AGBU) Scanning Cattle at Bald Blair Angus, Guyra NSW.
I enrolled in a Bachelor of Rural Science at the University of New England with my mind set on Livestock production. Little did I know some amazing opportunities were around the corner that would in fact change my life. Due to the nature and diversity of the Rural Science Degree I studied not only livestock units but also agronomy based units, of which I really enjoyed. I have become heavily involved within the University in the Rural Science Undergraduate Society, for which I am the Industry Liaison and sponsorship officer and Farming Futures, for which I am the minute’s secretary for 2014. These roles require me to liaise with Industry representatives and students, with the aim to bridge the gap between industry and tertiary education students in order to create open communication lines and promote career opportunities within the Industry. These are both initiatives that I am very proud to be involved in and look forward to the continued development of these in the future.
Farming Futures Careers Fair
Spring Fling Ball 2013.
I have also been involved in mentoring and ambassadorial roles. I have always been heavily involved in public relations, be it public speaking in formal or informal situations and I possess interpersonal skills that allow me to communicate with people from a large variety of backgrounds. I also currently hold employment as a Student Ambassador for the University of New England. My role as a Student Ambassador has allowed me to speak at various functions and forums and complete promotional presentations for the University of New England. I have addressed school aged students, promoting Agriculture and tertiary education at field days such as the Central North Machinery Expo and Primex and conducted presentations at University and Industry based events.
Marketing for the School of Environmental and Rural Science at Primex, Casino NSW 2013
I also attended the Australian Agronomy Conference held at UNE in 2012, which a fantastic experience where I was able to attend presentations on some amazing new research in the Agronomy field. At University I have also been able to be involved in many team sports and activities of which I am a very active member. In 2013 I was fortunate enough to travel down to Charles Sturt University Wagga Wagga as a member of the UNE meat judging team to compete at the Intercollegiate Meat Judging Competition (ICMJ). As an observer and a planned competitor in 2014 we attended many presentations, demonstrations and workshops by Industry Leaders and learnt methods of meat grading and processing; as seen below.
Beef carcase judging in the chillers at Teys Australia Wagga Plant for the ICMJ competition.
Although most of my Agricultural involvement prior to and during the first year of University was in the livestock sector my interest for pasture and crop agronomy grew as I began to study agronomy at University.
I was told about a summer job opening for cotton checking by a friend who strongly encouraged me to give it a try. So in my summer holidays at the end of first year I took up a position with an Independent Agronomist in Moree, North Western NSW as a croup scout and I absolutely loved it. Having just completed my second season working again for Integrated Crop Management Services I took on the responsibility of being a senior member of the team, which was an exciting new challenge. My job as a crop scout involves physiological crop assessment and field data collection, tissue sampling and analysis of data to assist in nutrition, irrigation scheduling and the recommendation of pesticide and insecticide applications. I find it a very rewarding job where I am constantly learning and adapting my techniques in order to meet the needs of the grower and the ever-changing crop in the aim of increasing productivity in a sustainable manner.
In the field, Moree NSW 2012/2013 season
Heading out to check a whitefly trial, Moree NSW 2014
Conventional Cotton crop Mungindi NSW 2012/2013 season
Early 2013/2014 crop
Beautiful views at Moree NSW 2013/2014 season.
I am constantly inspired by people in the agriculture Industry and I feel very strongly about other young people having the same experiences I have been lucky enough to have had
I have had those experiences because I have been exposed to them throughout my school career and feel very passionately that agriculture should be embedded in the curriculum as the current systems means so many young people have no idea what they are missing by not having the opportunity to explore agriculture related careers
I now aspire to be someone that others can look to draw motivation from. I wish to act as a role model and a leader for young people and in turn promote the Cotton Industry and agriculture as a whole to the best of my ability.
Although my time in the cotton industry has been relatively brief, I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it and have developed a strong passion for the Industry. I love the fast pace of the Cotton industry and the complexity of production. I cannot imagine myself spending a summer not knee deep in mud checking cotton. And I sincerely look forward to my future in the Cotton Industry.