As a graduate agronomist, it's easy to be daunted by the prospect of sourcing and interpreting a wealth of research information, establishing a professional reputation or having a difficult conversation with a client.
However there are few challenges that can't be overcome by time, hard work, honesty, earnestness and a willingness to learn.
Those wise words were some of the sage advice offered to a group of young agronomists at Capella in Central Queensland last week as part of the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) initiative Boosting the capability and capacity of graduate agronomists.
The initiative aims to provide critical 'soft skill' development, link graduates with relevant research resources and offer insights into how experienced advisers handle challenging situations and seasons.
It's important to educate and train yourself by attending events like GRDC Updates, training courses, workshops and field days.
Speaking during the event, respected Emerald-based agricultural consultant and GRDC northern panel member Graham Spackman highlighted some key qualities that could assist with skill and career development.
"It's important to educate and train yourself by attending events like GRDC Updates, training courses, workshops and field days. Make a habit of attending and keeping up-to-date," Mr Spackman said.
"It's also well worth joining relevant professional organisations to extend contact networks and further your knowledge, not just in a technical capacity but also for general business skills and personal development.
"Focus on developing relationships by spending time with clients on-farm, with other agronomists and also researchers - if there's an opportunity to assist with trial work and data collection, jump at it.
"At the end of the day it's important to develop a professional reputation by going the extra mile. Study the available science, do the hard yards, communicate well, be reliable and be willing to learn.
"Establishing trust and credibility takes time but it can be helped along by doing what you say, not just saying what you'll do."
Newly graduated agronomists are the future of our industry and the GRDC is keen to support this group through the early years of their careers.
GRDC Senior Regional Manager- North Gillian Meppem said GRDC was committed to supporting capacity in the Australian grains industry, particularly for those entering the industry, through the provision of information resources, facilitating contact networks and offering mentoring opportunities.
"Agronomists and advisers provide an invaluable practical conduit between the scientific community and growers by communicating up-to-date research information and encouraging adoption of the latest agronomic management recommendations. Newly graduated agronomists are the future of our industry and the GRDC is keen to support this group through the early years of their careers," Ms Meppem said.
"The Capella event was the first in a series of networking events where graduate level agronomists can engage with more experienced advisers to talk about their emerging careers, the challenges they may face and learn more about the GRDC's wide array of resources which detail scientifically robust and validated industry research.
"The Boosting the capability and capacity of graduate agronomists investment is one way GRDC can support their professional development and, in turn, contribute to the future productivity and profitability of the Australian grains industry. These events also provide an opportunity for experienced agronomists and advisers to give back to the industry in a practical way by sharing their experiences, tips and tricks with the emerging crop of young professionals."
A number of similar events are planned for 2020 in conjunction with the GRDC Grains Research Updates on:
- February 18 and 19 - Wagga Wagga, NSW
- February 25 and 26 - Dubbo, NSW
- March 3 and 4 - Goondiwindi, QLD
- March 10 - Barellan, NSW
The two-hour, free events will include a short presentation on topics such as difficult conversations and conflict management or negotiation, followed by a Q&A panel session with experienced agronomists or advisers and then networking opportunities.
If you are a graduate agronomist wanting to attend one of these events, or you are an established agronomist who has experience and knowledge you'd like to share, the GRDC would value your involvement in this program. For more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org.