Name: Philip Honey
Location: Adelaide, SA
Job title: Student/Precision Agriculture Specialist
How did you get into agriculture? I was raised on mixed crop and livestock farm back home in Esperance (WA), and just enjoyed the lifestyle and freedom. The ability to go out on the quad bike and check the sheep or the crops, or drive large machines was certainly the lifestyle I enjoyed most.
Education: Associate Degree in Agribusiness (Curtin University-Muresk Campus)
Bachelor of Ag Sciences (University of Adelaide) – In Progress
If you studied/trained in agriculture, why did you choose that degree/certificate? The best thing about any agricultural degree is that they are recognised nearly worldwide. By doing an agriculture degree, you have the ability to move locally, nationally and internationally, and across many different and diverse farming operations. In doing an Agricultural Sciences course, it gives me the potential ability to work at a farm level, research or education level and the ability to keep up to date with the latest technology.
What are/were your plans after university? My main plan after I finished graduating is to further my knowledge in Precision Agriculture, and help farmers and researchers produce crops and other foodstuffs at a more effective and economical rate, resulting in both economic and environmental benefits.
Describe your job on the average day Uni life is quite easy and relaxed. In-between this time on breaks, I work for companies driving agricultural equipment or working at grain recieval points and attend Precision Agriculture conferences/events
What is your favourite part of your job? The fact that every day is different, and watching the sunsets over the land on a cloudy day.
What are your interests? Music, Technology, Socialising at public events such as race days and rodeo’s.
What’s your favourite thing about the industry? The best thing about the industry is the opportunities that we have. There aren’t many jobs out there that you can travel worldwide and experience something different every day.
Worst experience in agriculture? Sheep work on a bloody hot day!
What do you think will be the biggest challenges of the agricultural industry in the future? The biggest challenges of the ag industry in the future in my opinion is the ability to feed the ever-increasing population, whilst combatting a rising public misconception about farming issues. Throughout the last year, it has become apparent to many people within Agriculture industry that there is a rising amount of the population that do not understand where exactly their food comes from, or why farmers do certain things on farm with their crops or livestock. This coupled with emotive language from some welfare or activist groups are painting an unjust images or generalizations to the general public, such as farmers condone cruelty or farmers are keeping secrets on the chemicals they use…. Unfortunately the general public does not understand why farmers do the things that they do, and this gap needs to be bridged.
Why do you think less people are becoming involved in agriculture? The biggest issue with recruitments within the agriculture industry is due to the wages being lower than other industries such as mining. Unfortunately, this coupled with poor advertising programs at many universities in line with no real promotion through the government, numbers are no-where near what they should be at.
What advice do you have for people thinking about getting into agriculture? Give it a good shot and try some work experience. Agriculture is a very diverse industry and just because you may not like one part of the industry, doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy the other farming sectors!
How important do you think an agricultural background is to become involved in the industry? I personally don’t believe an agricultural background is that important in the industry anymore. Many agricultural specialists learn out of the classroom and on the job.