Meet Nellie Evans taking a winding journey from landscape gardener to crop doctor

As part of our series to share the stories of exciting young actionists in the agriculture and sustainability sector  we would like to introduce you to Nellie Evans

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Hi my name is Nellie and this is my journey ………

My journey into Agriculture and a return to farming after my grandparents had steered us away was a winding one full of obstacles and triumphs.

Excitingly I am now a 4th year Ag Science student at the University of Sydney, majoring in agronomy and livestock. I’ve never been your usual girl, I’ve always preferred competing against my brother in water skiing, mud bogging championships, wrestling steers from chasing motorbike, charging around on my horses and being apart of the outside action learning from my dad to do everything a builder can. Sitting inside painting my nails never came to my attention and perhaps I’m only learning these finer qualities now!  My Uncle Dave always promised to send me to finishing school, but my mum and dad sent me to Frensham instead.

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Despite not coming from a working property, I’ve always been surrounded by animals and acres of our own, fostering my love for animals and the landscape. I fell in love with horses at the age of 10, when my friend let me borrow her horse, patting it through the fence I soon became confident throwing my whole teenage years into training some 10 horses from Australia Stock Horses to Thoroughbreds. Competing at all the Australian Royal Agricultural shows, State and Grand National Competitions.

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Handy is a word that my family lives by; if you can’t do something, LEARN. There is no excuse for laziness in my family and I guess this has shaped my attitude towards work. When I was little on our family camping holidays around the country towns of Australia and ‘out west’ in the deserts, on the bank of the Cooper Creek at Innamincka I told my mum and dad that when I grow up I want to be a truck driver. They were of-course a little worried about this!  Well I achieved this goal fast – with a heavy ridged truck licence so I could cart my horses and cattle around.  However, I realised was destined for bigger things, so off I went to Canberra to Study Landscape Architecture.

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Landscaping is a passion of mine having done a Landscape Architecture degree at the University of Canberra and an exchange at the University of Georgia USA. However, I always preferred the actual creating rather than just drawing on paper. I rapidly became HG (Head Gardener) at our family property in Robertson, Southern Highlands. I was then ready for my next challenge, the one I should have always started out with – Agricultural Science. Throughout the past 3 years I have been fortunate enough to have wonderful mentors and work experience, which has galvanised my future career path.

I have seen some of Australia’s best cotton farms with progressive thinking, technology and ambition to strive for sustainable economically driven enterprises in Warren, Merah North, Gunnedah and Bourke.

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The cotton industry is really at the forefront of research and development as they see the future to climate, social and market based challenges, simplified with applied technology. I’ve also been fortunate to see a policy side of agriculture with NSW Farmers, livestock auctioning with Elders and U.S cropping and agronomy with GrainGrowers Australia.

The Grains industry is similarly one of progression, recently affording my friend Brett and myself pictured below an overseas study tour after winning The Undergraduate Crops Competition 2016.

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This year I’m studying chickpeas – never thought id say that! My honours project ‘Dissecting Chickpea Diversity for Improved Nitrogen Fixation’, is supported by the GRDC (Grains Research and Development Corporation).

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I believe the future of Australian Agriculture is in research and development, in the areas of legumes, soil and of course for plant development in cotton and grain crops such as wheat, barley, rice and sorghum to better handle the challenging growing conditions of the future.

I don’t know what’s next, but with each experience I am privileged to be apart of, it defines my future towards research agronomy, but what is for sure is ‘she’s heading West’.


Thanks for sharing my journey. #YOUTHINGAG #AGINSPIRATIONS

Author: Picture You in Agriculture

The world needs creative, innovative and courageous young people who can connect, collaborate and act. We know that youth may only be 20% of the population but they are 100% of the future. The time is now to let them share their dreams and design the future they want to see.

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