Elders invests in the future with 2020 Graduate Agronomy Program
Elders has commenced its 2020 Graduate Agronomy Program, welcoming Claire Patterson, Georgia Rodgers, Lisa Gillogly and Riley Curnow to the famous pink shirt fold.
Run by Elders’ flagship research and development arm, Thomas Elder Institute (TEI), the program will provide these four promising agronomists with exposure to the industry’s best practices, world-class training and a first-hand look at the support, advice and solutions Elders is renowned for providing to its clients.
Head of TEI, Dr Michael Wilkes, says the graduate program is the perfect platform for budding agronomists to identify their area of expertise and take the first steps to establishing a long and prosperous career in the industry.
“Our program takes bright and passionate young minds and provides them with opportunities to create their own pathway to success. Graduates will work alongside some the country’s most experienced and respected agronomists to help nurture their passion and hone their skills.”
As well as expanding their knowledge and developing technical skills, Mr Wilkes says one of the most important aspects of the program is emphasising the importance of cultivating real relationships with clients.
“Elders’ reputation is founded on the connections we form with our clients. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter how well you understand the technical side of the job if you don’t understand the needs and circumstances of each individual client.”
Further to the benefits afforded to the graduates, the program is an integral part of Elders’ commitment to continually innovate and evolve.
“The program is just as important for Elders as it is for the graduates themselves. The introduction of new talent leads to the next generation of best-class agronomists spread throughout our network. Mr Wilkes said.
While the coronavirus pandemic has thrown much of the world’s economy into a state of uncertainty, Mr Wilkes there has never been a better time to enter Australian agribusiness.
“Now, more than ever, the community is looking to Australian agribusiness as a beacon of light for the crucial role the sector plays in food security and the economy. Being exposed to the inner-workings of the industry during this period will be an invaluable experience that will hold our 2020 graduates in good stead as they look to establish their careers.”
The program has gone from strength to strength since its introduction in 2015, as reflected by the success previous graduates have had in forging fruitful careers at Elders upon completing the program.
“You just have to look at the career paths of former graduates to appreciate the value that this program offers. Whatever goals and ambitions Claire, Georgia, Lisa and Riley have, the Elders network will support them on their journey.”
Riley Curnow joins the Elders’ Graduate Agronomist Program after completing an Agricultural Science degree at the University of Adelaide. Having grown up on a mixed farm just outside of Mallala, South Australia, Riley says the seeds for a career in agriculture were planted from a very young age.
“Growing up, farming was always a massive part of my life. As I got older and became more involved in practices on the family farm, my desire to pursue a career in agriculture only grew. That why I decided to complete year 12 and go to uni rather than return straight to the farm,” Riley said.
Riley’s studies have taken him across the globe, seeing him complete a six-month exchange at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, and a four-week study trip to Nottingham University in the United Kingdom. These trips exposed Riley to a variety of experiences that further fuelled his passion for agriculture.
“Seeing different approaches to agronomy from around the world really opened my eyes to the vast scale of broadacre agriculture – it’s where I found a genuine interest and love for agronomy away from the family farm.”
Riley was drawn to the Elders’ Graduate Program when he came across it while completing his studies, identifying immediately that it aligned with his interests and career aspirations.
“This program provides an unbelievable opportunity to experience different aspects and regions of Australian agriculture. Being able to work alongside experts in the field is the perfect way to bridge the gap between the skills I have learnt at university and putting them into practice on-farm.”
The program is the first step in what promises to be a prosperous career in the industry for Riley, who says he can’t wait to learn all that he can.
“While participating in the program I hope to absorb as much information about broadacre agriculture as possible, all while developing positive relationships with growers and advisors that will last a lifetime.”
Another aspiring agronomist with a rich family history in farming is Georgia Rodgers. Hailing from the small Scenic Rim town of Beaudesert, Queensland, Georgia joins the graduate program with a Bachelor of Agriculture from Central Queensland University and a breadth of farming experience throughout her high school and university years.
Although agriculture runs deep in her family, Georgia says it wasn’t until secondary school that she knew she wanted to pursue a career in the industry.
“My interest in agriculture stems from a family history of farming in the Mallee in Victoria, but I developed a genuine passion for the industry at high school where I was heavily involved in the day to day running of our school farm and an active member of the school cattle showing team.”
Upon hearing about the Elders’ Graduate Agronomist Program, Georgia jumped at the chance to further her knowledge and learn from “the best in the business.”
“This program is incredibly valuable because it allows me to become familiar with industry processes while continuing to learn and hone my skills,” Georgia said.
Having been posted at Elders Toowoomba for the first six-months of the program, Georgia has revelled in the opportunity to work with senior agronomists Matt Kenny and Ken Reimers while being exposed to a variety of sorghum, mung bean, chickpea, barley and wheat crops.
“Matt and Ken are two people with a wealth of experience – being able to work alongside them and pick their brains about anything and everything to do with an agronomy is an amazing way to find my feet in the industry.”
While she may be at the start of her journey in agriculture, the graduate program promises to provide Georgia with the tools necessary to establish a long and rewarding career in the industry.
“I am looking forward to gaining the skills and knowledge I need to be able to step out with confidence and say, ‘I am an agronomist’.
“I’m a firm believer in starting from the bottom, and working with the some of the most respected people in the industry is the ideal way to learn, understand and adopt the most effective and cutting-edge procedures.”
For more information about the Elders graduate agronomy program