2016 Scholars

Isaac Jones

Isaac Jones, from Campbelltown in NSW, plans to use his Horizon Scholarship supported by the Grains Research and Development Corporation, to pursue a career in sustainable agriculture.

Studying a Bachelor of Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security at the University of Western Sydney, he is particularly interested in how agricultural technology can make food and fibre more accessible around the world.

Isaac had an urban upbringing in Sydney, but his appreciation for agriculture grew when he attended Hurlstone Agricultural High School.

“High school really helped grow my passion for agriculture and I’m hoping I can take that into my career and achieve some beneficial change for the world,” he says.

Isaac holds agriculture in significant regard, explaining that farmers play an essential role in society.

“Agriculture is really what provides everyone with life – we provide food and fibre to people all over the world, and it’s completely necessary.

I really just see such value in being a part of that, helping agriculture to become something great in the world,” he says

The course in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security is providing him with the knowledge needed to achieve these goals.

“I’m really excited about this course, which looks at applying agricultural knowledge to feeding the planet, making resources accessible to people all over the world.

“Importantly, we also need to integrate new technology and research in order to deliver agriculture in a sustainable manner to the whole globe,” he says.

Coupled with his university course, Isaac views the Horizon Scholarship as the perfect opportunity to get a head start professionally.

“The scholarship is truly invaluable; the work placements and professional development experience really sets scholars up so far ahead of everyone else.

“Horizon is going to give me opportunities like no other and my goal is to translate my passion into creating a beneficial and sustainable future in agriculture,” he explains.

Sponsor: Grains Research and Development Corporation

Jana Dixon

A career in agricultural consultancy awaits 2016 Horizon Scholar Jana Dixon, who plans to work with smaller family farms on introducing modern technology and ensuring they remain viable.

The University of Adelaide Agricultural Science student will use the scholarship, supported by the Grains Research and Development Corporation, to tap into significant networking and professional development opportunities to achieve that goal.

With a strong background in practical agriculture, thanks to an upbringing on her family’s South Australian farm, Jana has always been focused on a career in the sector.

She is studying a Bachelor of Agricultural Science at the University of Adelaide, and is third generation on the family 1500-acre grain growing property.

“I’ve lived here all my life and I love the atmosphere, the people you interact with and just being out in the open space and fresh air.

“Knowing I can get a career out of agriculture, which is always what I’ve wanted to do, that’s pretty exciting, being able to bring what I learn back to the family farm,” she explains.

From the $5000 annual bursary, to development meetings in Canberra and gaining industry experience, Jana believes the Horizon Scholarship provides significant opportunities for up and coming young people in agriculture.

“I think the networking will actually benefit me the most, being able to make contact with a lot of people from industry and through the work placements,” she says.

Jana says the Horizon program will help her decide where she wants to go in her career, with agronomy originally in her sights.

“I still find the idea of agronomy very interesting, however now I’m looking at broader agricultural consultancy, working with livestock and cropping, developing modern technologies into the traditional farms and also working with finance and agribusiness.

“Horizon will really help me work out what I want to do and know that I’m really passionate about my career path, to motivate me through my course and look forward to my future,” Jana says.

Sponsor: Grains Research and Development Corporation

Jess Capps

2016 Horizon Scholar Jess Capps has a very clear career goal – to help feed the people of Australia in the healthiest and most ethical way she can.

Her scholarship, supported by the Grains Research and Development Corporation, will set the University of New England student up with networking and work placements to achieve her ambitions.

The Capps have come from generations of farming, and while Jess’s family now live in the town of Buxton, in the southern highlands of NSW, her connection with the land remains strong.

“I’ve always been surrounded by my grandparents and cousin’s farms, and have been active in agriculture right through school as part of the show cattle and sheep teams.

“I just love that agriculture is the foundation of society – without it we don’t have food and we don’t have clothing.

“Without soils you can’t grow plants, and plants produce energy from the sun, which then transfers through the food chain, so it just fascinates me how agriculture provides the building blocks of society,” she explains.

Jess is studying a Bachelor of Rural Science, and is grateful for the opportunities the Horizon program provides to complement the course.

“You get an annual $5000 bursary to go towards your university education, but it is so much more than that.

“All the benefits that come from the workshops, the media training and more, are just such valuable skills to have,” she says.

Jess is planning on a career in the field of genetics, and is confident the Horizon Scholarship will help her achieve her goals.

“The program will help me meet people in the industry through work placements, which will give me a more well-rounded view of where I am heading in agriculture.

“I am particularly interested by the potential for transgenic organisms, such as BT cotton, to increase yield and reduce the need for pesticides, adding to the sustainability of our food production system,” Jess explains.

Sponsor: Grains Research and Development Corporation

Jonathon Moore

Jonathon Moore, from Canberra, is focused on transferring knowledge from Australian agricultural systems into developing countries.

Jonathon will use a 2016 Horizon Scholarship, supported by the Grains Research and Development Corporation, to kick-start his career improving global food security.

While he is now studying a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture at the University of Sydney, he is originally from Orange in central-west NSW, where his father was stationed with the Department of Primary Industries.

Although the Moore’s moved to Canberra for work when Jonathon was ten, his strong association with agriculture continued, spending time on farms owned by family around Leeton in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area.

“That really fostered my interest in practical agriculture and then, through Dad’s involvement in industry, I was able to go to shows where I learnt about technology, research and the challenges facing the industry, which is where my interest in agriculture really started,” he says.

Jonathon says he will take every opportunity he can through the work placements the Horizon Scholarship provides.

“I’d like to experience everything from the business side to practical on-farm work, and then to research and maybe even with corporations internationally to get an entirely different perspective,” he explains.

As Jonathon looks to the future, he is particularly focused on both research and developmental agriculture.

“I’m interested in technology that can assist farmers in cropping and improved pasture in low rainfall areas, as well new species that can grow better and produce more in dry and arid climates.

“Secondly, I’d like to help implement more sustainable agricultural systems in developing countries by sharing Australia’s knowledge,” he says.

Sponsor: Grains Research and Development Corporation

Katherine Bain

With a goal to work in agricultural trade and marketing, agribusiness student Katherine Bain is on the right path thanks to a 2016 Horizon Scholarship, supported by Australian Wool Innovation.

Katherine is studying at Marcus Oldham College and sees herself in a role developing networks and markets that attract new business for Australian farmers.

Hailing from a family sheep farm in Skipton in the western districts of Victoria, her background provides a perfect basis for this role.

“I’ve been involved in agriculture my entire life through many different ways, mainly helping on the farm but also being heavily involved in the local show at Beaufort.

“I enjoy agriculture as it allows me to see a ‘hard copy’ of what you’ve done in taking food from paddock to plate,” she explains.

Katherine says the real value of the Horizon Scholarship lies in gaining industry experience through work placements and networking.

“I’m really interested using that opportunity to follow the wool industry past the farm gate – being off a sheep farm it’s what I’ve grown up with and what I really love in agriculture.

“However I’m also keen to expand my knowledge into different industries,” she says.

The Horizon Scholars also travel to Canberra as a group for development meetings, which Katherine sees a lot of value in.

“We learn about leadership and agriculture as an industry in Australia, and meeting the other scholars means we can bounce ideas off each other through the program.

“The Canberra meetings also feed in nicely to my interest in the trade and marketing sector of agriculture, particularly in promoting Australian products domestically and overseas,” she says.

Sponsor: Australian Wool Innovation

Peta Stockwell

While focused on the northern Australian beef industry, Peta Stockwell is working to expand her knowledge in all areas of agriculture – and firmly believes a Horizon Scholarship is the vehicle to achieve that.

The 2016 Horizon Scholarship winner, supported by the Grains Research and Development Corporation, says whether it’s owning and managing cattle stations, field research or consultancy, her aim is to benefit Australian agriculture with skills acquired through the program.

Peta is from Sunday Creek Station, about 300 kilometers south of Katherine in the Northern Territory, and as such, has been involved in agriculture her whole life.

“It’s a good profession in that it’s family orientated, but we are also feeding the world, it’s a really vital industry everyone relies upon whether they realise it or not.

“Personally, I really enjoy working with the people and animals and find it really rewarding,” she says.

That strong link to agriculture has led to her studying agricultural science at the University of Queensland, a course she chose because of the broad choices it allowed.

“Throughout the course you have a lot of subject options for specialisation, preparing you really well for whichever career path you go down after you graduate,” Peta says.

he Horizon Scholarship will play an important role in Peta’s career development, not just financially, but through industry engagement.

“The program allows us to go all over Australia and see how agricultural businesses are run, engaging with parts of agriculture that you otherwise wouldn’t have exposure to, which is just a really great opportunity.

“It’s important because I believe theoretical knowledge has the most potential when coupled with grassroots understanding,” she says.

Peta also is firmly focused on being a positive ambassador for agriculture, a role requiring a wide skill set.

“I will need not only advanced knowledge in many aspects of agriculture, but also networking and business knowledge.

“The opportunities available to me through the Horizon Scholarship will be extremely helpful in the development of these skills,” she explains.

Sponsor: Grains Research and Development Corporation

Peter Coles

Peter Coles has always wanted to work directly with farmers to maximise agricultural production while adopting sustainable tactics.

Thanks to a 2016 Horizon Scholarship, supported by the Grains Research and Development Corporation, he is well on the way to gaining the skills needed to achieve his goals.

“Plant and soil science are just so critical to production within agriculture, so I am attracted to a career in agronomy.

“Also, we’ve always found professional advice hard to come by, so I’d like to provide professionalism and the best advice possible to farmers and industry,” he says.

The interest in agronomy stems from his upbringing on a small family property at Goulburn in NSW, where his family runs a couple hundred head of Angus cattle, with some cropping.

“I’ve always enjoyed agriculture ever since I was little, and I’ve always found it very rewarding – it is hard work, but at the end of the day you can always be satisfied with what you’ve achieved,” he explains.

The first step in his career was to enroll in a Bachelor of Agricultural Science at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga, with the Horizon Scholarship an added bonus.

“I was very excited about the Horizon Scholarship, not just for the financial support but also for the work placements, which will help propel me into an agricultural career.

“Work placements are essential to any career aspirations, they’re a really good way to develop contacts, personal relationships and skills,” he says.

Peter also values the Canberra leadership and mentoring sessions as a way for personal development in career roles, such as looking at further management positions.

“It helps develop our communication skills and professionalism, and at the end of the day every employer is looking at those skills, so developing them is just so important,” he explains.

Sponsor: Grains Research and Development Corporation

Sam Knight

While acknowledging the significant progress 2016 Horizon Scholar Sam Knight has seen in the cotton industry over the last ten years, he is convinced the future is even brighter.

Sam, whose scholarship is supported by the Cotton Research and Development Corporation, is from a family cotton farm in Wee Waa, northern NSW.

After getting more involved on the farm during high school, he discovered a passion for cotton growing, which has set his career path.

“One of the biggest things I love is how it is always changing – you look back on cotton farming 10 years ago compared to today and the machinery and practices are completely different.

“It’s really exciting about to imagine what’s going to happen in the future and it’s something I really want to be a part of,” he enthuses.

Sam is studying a Bachelor of Agriculture and Business at the University of New England, which when coupled with a Horizon Scholarship, sets him up well for a career in the industry.

“The biggest benefits of the scholarship are the opportunities, knowledge and contacts you can access.

“You meet a lot of different people from different businesses, different government departments, farmers growing different crops – it is great engaging with leaders of agriculture and being involved with everything they have to offer,” he says.

Sam is focused on a career in the cotton industry, with an aim to not just make an impact on his own farm, but more broadly on industry.

“I want to get involved with the farmers throughout our region with research and development, trials and even the farmers associations.

“I do firmly believe that through research we can continue to increase yield and profits while reducing cost and not degrading the land,” he concludes.

Sponsor: Cotton Research and Development Corporation

Wave Camp

2016 Horizon Scholar Wave Camp has a big picture view of the northern cattle industry, with a goal to make a difference from ‘paddock to plate’ as a rural veterinarian in the sector.

Wave, whose scholarship is supported by Meat and Livestock Australia, see support for all parts of the supply chain, from processing of sale cattle on stations, to livestock shipping and feedlot management, as critical.

Wave’s interest in the area comes from her upbringing on Kalyeeda Station in the Kimberley region of WA.

“I have spent my whole life on the station, where we run Brahman Droughtmaster cattle for live export and, as a result, I’m really passionate about the northern cattle industry,” she explains.

That passion has led to enrolling to study a Bachelor of Veterinary Science at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga.

“The thing I mostly love about agriculture is spending time with cattle and horses, however it’s also the lifestyle and the people – you can’t really beat it once you’ve got a taste, you can’t get it out of your blood.

“My long-term goal is definitely to return to the Northern Territory or WA to work as a vet in the rural cattle and equine industry,” she explains.

Wave believes the Horizon Scholarship provides a fantastic opportunity to gain the skills required to be a powerful advocate for Australian agriculture.

“The scholarship is about promoting and empowering young people in the agricultural sector to become better agricultural leaders of the future.

“I’m really hoping to use the opportunity to network with different people around Australia and to get an understanding of different aspects of industry,” Wave says.

Sponsor: Meat & Livestock Australia

Xavier Burton

2016 Horizon Scholar Xavier Burton is convinced that improving genetics will play a vital role for livestock producers in tackling changing market and environmental conditions.

His interest in livestock genetics stems from an upbringing on the family prime lamb property near Glenrowan West in north-east Victoria, where he now also owns a Hampshire Down sheep stud.

Xavier is studying a Bachelor of Agriculture at the University of Melbourne, and was excited to receive a Horizon Scholarship supported by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation.

“I’ve had to move from Glenrowan West into Melbourne for uni, so the financial assistance the scholarship offers is certainly appreciated.

“It also offers great benefits such as mentorship and being able to develop the way I see the industry and help me find a pathway,” he says.

The Burton family farm has always been a big part of Xavier’s life, to the extent he has never considered another career path.

“I love the diversity of the industry, yet how the same principles apply to whether you want to work with prime lambs, poultry, cropping or horticulture.

“There’s always a focus on sustainability, both in an economic sense and an environmental sense, and it’s also about having a good lifestyle and really loving what you do,” he says.

Xavier hopes to use the Horizon Scholarship program to further his interest in the development of genetics in meat animals.

“I’d like to get work placements with organisations such as Meat and Livestock Australia, to see what they do in the area of livestock genetics.

I would also like to learn about MLA’s approach to managing the meat production supply chain to ensure everything’s produced well and efficiently,” Xavier says.

Sponsor: Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation