Location Moree, New South Wales.
What part(s) of the industry do you work in? Broad-acre grain production, Dryland cotton production, Irrigated crop production, Extensive cattle station operations, Corporate agriculture.
Job title Chief Operating Officer/General Manager Greentree Farming
What does your company/ business do? Operates one of the largest grain production businesses in Australia with a number of farms located within a 120km radius of Moree.
Produces dryland cotton and other summer crops as integrated crop rotations into the broadacre grain production business providing sustainable farming practices
Stores grain on-site with in-house logistics and grain marketing to maximise returns and market opportunities.
Describe your job on the average day My role requires the daily co-ordination of operations on numerous sites, liaising with farm managers and business stakeholders to achieve the operative requirements of the business and the business proprietors.
This involves regular travel to the operating farms and regular consultation with farm managers, other business executives and the business owners and the need to make decisions through discussions and agreements with commercial suppliers and supply-chain stakeholders. , The daily travel also doubles as an opportunity to inspect operations and crop conditions and progress.
How did you get involved with agriculture? I grew up on a farm and wanted to maintain the lifestyle. I enjoy working with nature, and never cease to enjoy the crop production.
Completed the Higher School Certificate-1980.
Took a gap year working as a Jackeroo in Western Australia.
Returned to education to complete a qualification in Farm Business Management 1982-1984.
Completed short-courses to enhance this qualification with Project Management and Law in Agriculture.
If you studied/ trained in agriculture, why did you choose that degree/ certificate? I recognized I would need a qualification to give me the best chance of gaining an executive role in corporate agriculture. This qualification needed to be coupled with extensive industry experience.
What are/were you plans after school/TAFE/university? Take and year of two away from academia to make sure I was committed to my chosen career path.
Jackeroo – Western Australia (Cropping, sheep)
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Farm Manager – NSW (Mixed cropping, sheep and cattle)
Farm and Production Manager – Irrigated crops (Riverina)
Farm Manager – Broadacre Farming, Moree, (NW NSW)
General Manager – Private Corporate Farm Group, Perth, WA
General Manager – Land and Environment, AA Company, Brisbane, Qld.
Chief Operating Officer/GM – Multiple Broadacre Farms, Moree. (NW NSW)
What are your interests?
Agriculture and farm machinery.
What is your favourite thing about the industry? Working outdoors, close to nature and the challenges this provides. Marveling at the crop production cycle. Harvest is my favourite time of the year – reaping the years production.
Best experience in agriculture? Harvesting a big crop and being part of the grains-industry during this period. Having a female operating team show the men the way in production and performance.
Worst experience in agriculture? Working for a company that was in agriculture solely to raise capital, and not for the benefit of the industry.
What do you think will be the biggest challenges of the agricultural industry in the future?
1. Attracting the right people to the agribusiness industries with the right experience to take the managerial reigns of the corporate agricultural players.
2. The price of energy for production – both electrical and fuel.
3. Farm labour with the necessary training and skills to meet the increasing production needs.
4. Capital Resources to maintain investment for infra-structure development and technological development.
Why do you think less people are becoming involved in agriculture?
1. The lifestyle can be less flexible than other career paths.
2. A large proportion of developing agriculture is located some distance from the coastal fringe – and the coastal population is unfamiliar with the distances required for travel.
3. Other industries offer lifestyles with regular hours, regular holidays and the security of production that is not impacted by weather events.
What advice do you have for people thinking about getting into agriculture? Do it. Give it a go, you will be wiser and broader minder with a greater appreciation of the production of food and fibre. You will have an opportunity to work with dedicated people with a strong work ethic and real commitment to getting a task done.
How important do you think an agricultural background is to become involved in the industry? Not at all. In my career, I have employed many staff with backgrounds from housing, construction, earth-moving and clerical roles. What they all have in common is a desire to learn, to work in the outdoors, and to have a go.
What do you think is the most common misconception about agriculture? That you have to get all dirty and smelly everyday and you work in archaic conditions. Today, agriculture is a state of the art industry, with labour saving devices and a high level of mechanisation.