Meet today’s guest blogger Kate Molloy the next generation of plant doctors applying science to fuel and feed the globe
One thing that amazes me is the amount of young people who are inspired to take up a career in agriculture after spending time ‘bug checking’. Just in case you are as fascinated as me as to what this entails I found this on Dr Google
This is Kate Molloy’s story………………….
Throughout my life I have always been surrounded by agriculture. Sheep, cattle, cropping you name it; I have even experienced a taste of fish farming.
Me and my dad
From when I could walk, farm animals and plants have always been a part of my daily life and I would never have it any other way. So I guess you could say that it was inevitable that my chosen career path became the red-dirt road to agriculture.
My adventure started in the small country town of Goolgowi where we only ran a small hobby farm.
We dabbled in a bit of everything and my grandfather even had his own small piggery there. Goolgowi was a small, thriving, agricultural community with no end of support from its members. When the drought hit NSW was when I realised how much agriculture supports rural communities such as this. Pretty quickly farming families that had made Goolgowi home for generations had to move on in search of greener pastures and the community diminished significantly. My family and I even had to move but not too far away. We began running a farm called Ballandry Station at Yenda, NSW.
At Ballandry we became sheep and cropping farmers. Times were tough so everyone was expected to pull his or her weight. This meant getting up at four in the morning to beat the heat when the sheep needed moving to a new paddock, or paddocks needed to be worked up. My sisters and I had to learn how to drive from extremely young ages so that we could tow the hay trailer around while dad through hay out to the starving sheep. At the end of every year we had to jump on tractors and the header to help harvest our wheat crops. This was one of the most important events of the year for us and it was a lot of fun as well.
Dad taught my sisters and I to drive from extremely young ages so that he could throw hay out to the starving sheep whilst we drove the ute slowly through the paddock. This wasn’t uncommon though as majority of farmers had to rely on the family pitching in because they couldn’t afford help. Every year my sisters and I help harvest our crops usually driving tractors and headers. It is an extremely fun and action packed time and one of the most important events for us as cropping farmers.
Me (on the right) driving the chaser bin whilst my dad harvests the wheat
Living on a farm has many more positives than negatives. We have an abundance of space, which means room for heaps of pets. Horses, dogs, cats and one massive pet steer were just some of the animal friends we accumulated. After school we would ride the horses or the motorbikes, or we would take the dogs to the dam for a swim. There was always something to do
I began to love the cropping side of farming. It amazed me how quickly the seeds we planted grew into golden wheat plants that provided a shed-full of grain after harvest. I enjoyed going out and checking for different weeds and diseases with dad during the winter when the plants were still young.
As I said I have had a taste of many different agricultural industries. I loved our family holidays to the isolated community of Tibooburra where my uncle ran a large cattle station. We helped with cattle work and daily station chores when we were there and attended the odd gymkhana or rodeo. These visits only fuelled my love of agricultural and my desire to build a life around it.
Sadly when I began high school this passion was put aside for a while when I began listening to the people who believed there was no real future in agriculture. Our school had amazing facilities for an agricultural program but never actually got one going so slowly my interest began to dwindle and the career I had envisioned in my head changed to becoming a teacher.
However in Year twelve I went out on a limb and decided to spend a day with our local agronomist. My love and passion for agriculture resurfaced and I was asked to become a bug checker during the summer holidays. This meant checking many different types of crops from rice to sunflowers and wheat to pumpkins for bugs that would cause damage.
Thankfully my passion for agriculture was reignited before university admissions closed and I have now finished two years of a Bachelor of Agricultural Science at Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga. Every summer since I have continued my work with our agronomist and will eventually be a full fledged one myself when I graduate. Slowly I have been handed more and more responsibility in my position and it has definitely expanded my skills in grain production.
Through the university I was able to travel to China in 2013 to experience and learn about agriculture in a different country.
Me on the Great Wall of China
My eyes were definitely opened and not only did I gain a load of information on agriculture but I also got to experience another culture and learn about the Chinese society. This is one experience I will never forget and in the future I hope to travel to other countries to also learn about different agricultural methods.
This year I was honoured enough to be selected as one of the eight Royal Agricultural Society Rural Achievers for 2014. This is something I am so excited about because it is yet another opportunity to showcase agriculture and expand my rural leadership skills. It is an awesome program that showcases young leaders in the rural community at the Sydney Royal Show.
So for now my path is heading straight for agronomy, or as some like to call them a ‘crop or plant doctor’, If you eat, wear clothes, live in a house or even drive a car, your life has been influenced by an agronomist. Agronomists play an important role in the agricultural, food and clothing industries. Agronomists are plant scientists. They are experts in agriculture. They work with plants such as cotton, corn, sorghum, wheat, rice, peanuts and more. Many agronomists work in research. Some develop new breeds of cotton, creating plants that are stronger and more resistant. Some agronomists work with wheat, developing hybrids that produce more yields per acre. Often times their work is done right there in the middle of the field. Currently, some agronomists are working with peanuts, trying to create peanuts that people are not allergic to.
I am excited that my passion for agriculture has led me to pursuing a career in advisory services to farmers. I want to be able to help them grow the best grain possible so that our bread, flour and other grain products are the best in Australia and the world. All of these events in my life are leading me to an awesome career in agriculture, which I hope to educate people about and invite them into this industry.
You can follow Kate on twitter here @katemolloy93