Grains industry in safe hands
Author: Michael Thomson | Date: 23 Oct 2013
Growing up on the family farm in Nevertire Diana George learned everything she could about cropping from her father, but these days she is the one doing the teaching.
The third year Agriculture student loves nothing more than getting home and bringing her father up to date with the latest technological and research advancements.
“There is so much great research going on and things are changing so quickly that you really need to dedicate yourself to staying on top of it,” Ms George said.
Ms George, who studies at the University of New England, is a member of the new breed of farmers who gain a university degree and a broad range of skills to take back to the family farm.
With an older sister shearing and a younger sister showing cattle agriculture is in her blood, but she said she had always known she wanted to grow grain.
That decision was confirmed at a careers day at the university in August when representatives of 10 major potential employers spoke to students about what life could hold after university.
Among them were representatives of the Grains Research and Development Council, who provided an insight into the broad range of research projects and initiatives going on the grain industry.
“There is so much great research going on that directly benefits farmers. It is quite exciting to hear about it all,” Ms George said.
“For example we use GPS (global positioning systems) on our farm but I would really like to use RTK (real time kinetic) technology.”
She will finish her course next year and hopes to get a graduate position in the grains industry, before later returning to the family farm.
UNE School of Environmental and Rural Science lecturer Craig Birchall said the days when young people relied solely on their parents to learn how to farm were long gone.
“Agriculture is getting more and more complex and things change so quickly that farmers really need broad skills and knowledge these days,” Mr Birchall said.
Mr Birchall said issues such as food security and global food shortages had attracted new interest to the grain industry, from people who previously may not have considered it.
He said Ms George’s enthusiasm was representative of students planning to work in the grain industry these days.
“There is definitely a lot of great talent coming through and the industry looks in good hands for the future.”
Caption: Diana George, who studies at the University of New England, wants to take her skills back to the farm.
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