Job: Agronomist Area: Ashburton
Brief introduction about yourself?
Grew up on a sheep, beef and deer farm in Te Anau, Southland. After leaving high school in Invercargill went to Lincoln University studying for four years for a Bachelor of Agricultural Science with honours. Then worked for a seed company firstly as an agricultural graduate for a year then north island agronomist for around two and a half years then travelled in UK and Europe for just under two years. Have now been in my current role with Elders Seed Production for just under a year.
What does your job involve?
Work for Elders Seed Production based in Ashburton, looking after arable, pasture and forage crops across Mid Canterbury. I work mostly alongside Cropping farmers, looking after their Wheat, Barley, Ryegrass and White Clover seed crops, but am also involved with a few Dairy farmers looking after their forage crops and pasture renewal.
What your typical day is like?
Out and about visiting farmers most days, walking crops checking for weeds, pests and diseases. Often there is a bit of follow up time in the office coming up with plans to rectify any issues spotted out in the paddock.
Did you have any scholarships to help you out along the way?
A Lincoln University Entrance Scholarship in first year, and a Landcorp First Step scholarship in final year.
What you love most about your job?
I really enjoy having the flexibility to organise my own day and to be able to get out and about most of the time. Mid Canterbury is a great place to work with all the different farming practices from the mountains to the sea so no day is ever completely the same, and I find the farmers here really enthusiastic and knowledgeable so I’m always learning things off them too.
What skills do you need to do your job well?
You need to be good at dealing with people, as building relationships is a key part to ensure things run smoothly day to day. Also good organisation and flexibility, as in times when the pressure is on you need to be able to make decisions and adapt to what happens out in the field.
What is the most challenging aspect to your job?
Trying to stay ahead of the farmers. The farmers in this area are hugely knowledgeable and are always right up with the best technologies to maximise their production whether it be from dairy or arable. As a result, I have to spend a lot of time staying up with the latest technology and practices to help them achieve their goals.
What advice would you give to young people?
Find something you enjoy and give it a good crack. I found university really awesome, as it opened up a big range of possible avenues of jobs I could go for, and also a huge network of contacts within the ag industry.
Back to The Real World
What are your goals for the future?
To continue to build my knowledge and skill base as an agronomist, and to continue to be involved in agriculture in NZ as it is an awesome industry to be involved in, and people to work with.
How did I get here:
School - NCEA: Agriculture, Biology, Chemistry, Statistics
University: B.Agr.Sci (Hons)