We would like to welcome our newest University of New England Young Farming Champion Emily May.
Emily joins the team with Laura Bignell moving to Rockhampton to join the Teys Australia Livestock Team.
UNE Young Farming Champions (LtoR) Forbes Corby, Ruby Canning, Rebecca George, Haylee Murrell and Emily May
Emily May brings a unique perspective to Young Farming Champions as she has witnessed first-hand Sydney’s urban sprawl impacting on agriculture.
This is Emily’s story …….
I come for a non-farming family on the outskirts of Sydney in the Hawkesbury district, an area which used to be a thriving agricultural hub. As I have grown up I have seen the way the area has changed in such a short period of time. Heading into town we used to pass numerous properties growing veggies, fruit or turf but these have now given way to housing developments.
These small farming businesses have been instrumental in my decision to study agriculture. My first job was with a neighbour who operated a citrus orchard and I enjoyed it so much I return each year for the winter harvest on Kathleen Groves Farm. I have also worked with flower growers, on a vegetable farm and for a strawberry propagation company.
I contemplated leaving high school after Year 10 and getting a trade, but my careers advisor Mr Lavelle could see I had a passion for the work I was doing on the farms on weekends, and he encouraged me to complete the HSC. After high school I worked for a civil company and while this job was enjoyable I didn’t have the same passion or hunger to learn more about it like I previously had with my farm jobs. Realising that working in agriculture was something I was good at and really enjoyed only encouraged me to keep pursuing it and I decided to study a Bachelor of Agriculture at UNE, which has been a wonderful and enriching experience.
While studying I continue to work on small farms and market gardens. The value of land continues to rise, as do the expenses of running a farming business and farmers have found it more profitable to sell to developers. I believe that in order to keep agriculture on the outskirts of Sydney we need to utilise innovation and technology to compete with this urban sprawl, and it is this understanding that drives me in my university studies.
We are very excited to have Emily join the Young Farming Champions team who are learning to share their stories confidently and inspiring pride in Australian agriculture.
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