Because you never know what may take your interest
Charles Impey asks a promising student about her motivations, what she hopes to achieve and if there are any lessons for others with an interest in a rural career.
Lucy is completing a Bachelor of Agriculture at the University of New England (UNE) and will be competing at the 2014 AWI National Merino Challenge in Melbourne on 24-25 May.
- At what age did you start to become interested in sheep and wool, and what influenced this interest?
I have been a ‘rural kid’ my whole life, not growing up on the land but having close family and friends that have farms.
I have always been interested in horses and livestock, but have had more experience in cropping on my godparents place 30 km east of Condobolin.
While growing up my brother was my hero as he worked on a few stations in the Northern Territory and Queensland.
I have always wanted to get into agriculture, and doing work experience on a few farms and with Delta Ag (pictured above during this work experience) has confirmed this.
I studied HSC Agriculture in years 11 and 12 at school and was involved in the school cattle show team. I began the agriculture/business degree at UNE in 2011, but switched to the Bachelor of Agriculture in 2012 as my passion is in agriculture, particularly livestock.
- What careers or occupations are you interested in pursuing after you finish at the University of New England or will you be continuing with further studies?
I would love to get into working with livestock in some way. Currently it’s a very male dominated field but I won’t let this stop me.
I won’t continue with formal university study after finishing the Bachelor of Agriculture at the University of New England. However, I don’t believe you ever stop learning and am keen to get into a career where I can learn on the job.
- What aspects of sheep and wool do you enjoy most?
I probably have more experience with meat sheep than wool in more recent years however I enjoy working and studying in all areas.
- What is the best advice you could offer a young person at school, who has an interest in agriculture, but is not sure what this interest may be?
‘Learn, Learn, Learn’.
Nothing is wasted knowledge and most things will be relevant at one time or another. Don’t just try one thing and decide it is not for you. There are so many different areas in agriculture, from soil science to agronomy to livestock, with the ability to specialise further.
Talk to people and make contacts, the saying ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ works more times than not. So make contact with as many people as possible, in areas of interest and even areas that are not of interest, because you never know what may take your interest.
And when you have contact with industry people, make the most of their time.
There is no such thing as a stupid question. No matter how basic the knowledge is to someone, it may not be to you until you learn it. And little bits of knowledge will stick well and will come in handy in the future.
Lastly, get as much experience as you can. It’s invaluable. If you do something once you will remember it in the future, whereas if you read it once it may not stick as well.
- What do you hope to get most out of the National Merino Challenge?
The potential for connections with industry members is a big drawcard for me. There are so many people that know so much and getting in contact and learning from these people is something I hope will happen.
The experience is also something I look forward to. Meeting like-minded people with similar interests is always interesting and rewarding.