Location South Gippsland, Victoria
What part(s) of the industry do you work in? Natural resource management linking to agriculture.
Job title Chair, West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority
What does your company/ business do? The State Government has established a catchment management system to effectively implement integrated catchment management as a tool for ecologically sustainable development of our natural resource based industries, the protection of land and water resources and the conservation of natural and cultural heritage.
As part of this system, Catchment Management Authorities were created to maximise community involvement in this system and ensure transparency in decision making on these issues. (http://www.wgcma.vic.gov.au/)
Describe your job on the average day As chair I have oversight for the processes of the board and liase with the CEO and staff as well as working with the region’s various industry sectors including the intense agriculture commodities.
How did you get involved with agriculture? Through my grand father who was an orchardist/dairyfarmer.
Education Bachelor of Education & Diploma of Company Directors
If you studied/ trained in agriculture, why did you choose that degree/ certificate? Didn’t study agriculture…
What are/were you plans after school/TAFE/university? Initially to teach and eventually move into dairy farming in South Gippsland.
What are your interests? Family, cycling of the pedalling type.
What is your favourite thing about the industry? Opportunities for innovation and young people with energy.
Best experience in agriculture? Owning our first farm and then having it move to the next generation.
Worst experience in agriculture? In a very wet South Gippsland winter tractor (4WD) skating down a hill paddock towards a creek.
What do you think will be the biggest challenges of the agricultural industry in the future? Being able to continue to innovate across all sectors to improve productivity and also to provide a system of marketing which rewards (particularly in a financial sense) all participants in a more equitable way.
Why do you think less people are becoming involved in agriculture? Fewer people are becoming involved in agriculture in my view due to efficiencies at all levels where fewer hands on are needed. This is a reflection in part of the contraction of ownership/consolidation where the smaller unit farm has or is disappearing from the agricultural landscape. Beyond the farm other agricultural sectors have automated / mechanised creating fewer opportunities.
What advice do you have for people thinking about getting into agriculture? Go for it – on the principle that given time anyone can do anything!
How important do you think an agricultural background is to become involved in the industry? No an absolute by any stretch – see comment above.
What do you think is the most common misconception about agriculture? Long hours and dirty. This is not true in many cases!