What part(s) of the industry do you work in? Research and extension in intensive livestock environmental management
Job title Principal Environmental Engineer
What does your company/ business do? Research and extension in agriculture, fisheries and forestry
Describe your job on the average day Managing a variety of research projects dealing with collection and use of biogas from a covered piggery effluent pond, monitoring the use of the biogas for piggery farrowing shed heating, collecting odour samples from piggery effluent ponds, providing recommendations on the design and operation of dairy effluent management systems, feed pads and free stall barns.
How did you get involved with agriculture? I had a strong interest in agriculture and decided to study Agricultural Engineering after finishing high school.
Degree in Agricultural Engineering (DDIAE, now USQ)
Cert IV Assessment and Workplace Training
If you studied/ trained in agriculture, why did you choose that degree/ certificate? General interest in agriculture, opportunity for some outdoor work away from big cities
What are/were you plans after school/TAFE/university? Get a satisfying job that provided sound training in a variety of areas.
Queensland Water Resources Commission – design of on-farm water storage and irrigation projects, design and construction of major state owned irrigation channels, pipelines, pump stations, water storage, management of state owned irrigation projects.
DPI/DEEDI/DAFF – Regulation of feedlot industry, research and extension in intensive livestock environmental management, writing guidelines and reference material, developing spreadsheet calculators and models to assist in designing effluent management systems.
What are your interests? Family, music, camping
What is your favourite thing about the industry? Assisting primary producers and industry bodies to find better ways of doing things that will make their businesses more profitable and more sustainable.
Best experience in agriculture? Successfully completing research projects that result in improved ways of managing tricky problems.
Worst experience in agriculture? Standing waist deep in pig effluent fixing broken pipelines
What do you think will be the biggest challenges of the agricultural industry in the future?
To boost production in a sustainable manner.
To become more economically competitive on world markets.
To retain access to vital soil and water resources in competition with resources sector and urban demands.
Why do you think less people are becoming involved in agriculture? Australia is becoming more urbanised and there is less connection between the majority of the population and the source of their food, fibre production and wealth creation.
What advice do you have for people thinking about getting into agriculture? Give it a go. There are lots of interesting, rewarding and exciting career options out there.
How important do you think an agricultural background is to become involved in the industry? May be an advantage in some situations but not necessary.
Interest, passion and commitment are more important.
What do you think is the most common misconception about agriculture? It is an industry sector in decline. It is not exciting or high tech