Name: Melissa Henry
Location: Boorowa NSW
- Catchment Officer for the Lachlan Catchment Management Authority
- Owner and Manager of Quebon Coloured Sheep
How did you get into agriculture? I was part of my high school’s Agricultural Show-Team, where we showed beef cattle and sheep. I fell in love with agriculture and knew it was the education and career path for me.
Education: Bachelor of Animal Science (Hons) & Graduate Certificate in Agricultural Consulting
If you studied/trained in agriculture, why did you choose that degree/certificate? I have always loved animals so the Bachelor of Animal Science was a perfect fit for me. University opened more doors than I ever knew existed in terms of career opportunities.
What are/were your plans after school/tafe/university? To gain full-time employment in the agricultural industry and move to rural NSW. I had already done a fair bit of travelling so I was keen to get into work and put what I had learnt into practice!
Describe your job on the average day: ¼ of my time is spent out in the field, ¾ of the time in the office. A lot of time is spent mapping out on-ground projects and organising field days.
What is your favourite part of your job? Working with farmers to assist them in achieving their goals for a productive and healthy environment.
What are your interests? Agricultural shows, travelling, further education, and I love talking with students about the opportunities in the agricultural industry.
What’s your favourite thing about the industry? The number of people who are champions for me in achieving my farming and career goals.
Best experience in agriculture?
- Owning my own sheep stud (I’ve done this through land leasing options)
- Domestic and international travel – self-designed agricultural study tours
- Being an Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champion (surround yourself with positive people)
Worst experience in agriculture? When agri-politics gets in the way of progress – drives me nuts!
What do you think will be the biggest challenges of the agricultural industry in the future?
- Maintaining or improving the quality of our produce.
- Reducing our ‘food & fibre miles’ – Many of our clothes are manufactured overseas using Australian wool and cotton instead of being made here in Australia (this is driven by cost)
Why do you think less people are becoming involved in agriculture? I think the stereotype of a career in agriculture is working on-farm – hard physical work and exposed to climatic events (which there is some truth in, but there is so much technology advancement in farming that I think the stereotype skews the truth). There are SO many different career opportunities in agriculture, right across the supply chain and unless you are in the industry you may not hear about them. Like I said at the beginning, education in agriculture or related science opens up more opportunities than you even know exists.
How did you find your first job? http://www.agcareers.com/ has lots of agricultural jobs listed from agricultural recruiting agencies and directly from companies too.
What advice do you have for people thinking about getting into agriculture? Ask lots of different people questions. Ask them about what they do, what education they have had, how they got their first job, what YOU can do to get into an agricultural career based on your interests. How do you find these people to ask? Careers in Agriculture Expo, tweet or email the people on this website, talk with company HR Managers, people you came across in the industry.
How important do you think an agricultural background is to become involved in the industry? I’m not from a farming/ agricultural family and neither do you. With so many possibilities out there and a culture that encourages individuality, you can be who you want to be.