Work experience adds reality to ambition

GroundCover Live and online, stay up to date with daily grains industry news online, click here to read more
Image of Di Parsons and Michael Quin

Central West Farming Systems (CWFS) chief executive officer Di Parsons with Condobolin Year 12 student Michael Quin at the grower group’s irrigated trial site at Condobolin, New South Wales. CWFS has offered mentoring to Michael during the past two years.

PHOTO: Nicole Baxter

The grower group Central West Farming Systems (CWFS) is doing its bit to foster the development of young people keen to take up careers in agriculture.

As part of this program, CWFS, in partnership with Condobolin High School in New South Wales, has for the past year been mentoring Year 12 student Michael Quin.

In Year 11 Michael spent an average of three hours a week with CWFS to experience what a career in agriculture and research might involve. Due to Year 12 commitments he has been working at CWFS half a day every fortnight.

Michael is the CWFS’s Lime Youth Champion and has been working with CWFS grower trials extension officer Nick Hill on promoting the benefits of liming through his involvement in the CWFS GRDC-supported lime research project.

One aspect of his work has involved researching and writing an article for CWFS’s newsletter on the need for testing soil pH to determine if crop yields are being hampered by aluminium toxicity.

Michael says tests have shown that soil pH at Ungarie in central NSW has declined from 5.2 to 4.6, causing plant roots to become stunted and not reach their yield potential.

“Lime may come at a substantial cost, but it is crucial to employ liming to improve the condition of the soil, which will in turn improve profitability in the long term,” Michael says.

CWFS chief executive officer Di Parsons says Michael has been actively involved in the CWFS Women and Youth project, contributing to its focus, organisation and evaluation.

“He has developed skills in analysis and evaluation of data, and submitted reports to funding bodies based on this analysis,” she says. “Michael has contributed to other CWFS projects, strategic planning, interviews and speaking at field days. We highly value his input.”

After completing his secondary studies, Michael hopes to attend university and complete a degree in agronomy.

“Every week I learn something new and exciting, whether it is in the field with Nick or in the office with Di,” Michael says. “That is what I have enjoyed most about the program.”

More information:

Diana Parsons
02 6895 1007
diana.parsons@dpi.nsw.gov.au

Michael Quin
02 6895 4980
michael.quin1@education.nsw.gov.au

Next:

‘The Cook and the Chef’ put the pulse into aged care

Previous:

Grains scholars promote agriculture careers

GRDC Project Code CWF00018

Region South