Today we are thrilled to introduce you to guest blogger Naomi Hobson.
Naomi grew up in Gunnedah NSW where her family runs a 6500 acre mixed beef and cropping enterprise. Naomi is very passionate about the role of women in agriculture and encouraging and supporting young people to enter agricultural industries. She was recently selected to travel to the National Rural Women’s Coalition Conference as a QLD youth representative. Naomi firmly believes that a career in agriculture is the best place to be
“There is one thing I will guarantee about agriculture, the opportunities are endless! It doesn’t matter what your background may be all you need is enthusiasm, a willingness to learn and the ability to say yes to the opportunities that are presented to you and I guarantee a great adventure will be waiting!”
We asked Naomi to tell us why she believes it is important for the agriculture sector to build relationships with the community. We are confident you will be as impressed by what she had to say as we are
I like the saying that ‘people will only conserve what they love, love what they understand, understand what they know and know what they are taught’.
If we are going to conserve agriculture and the rural way of life then we must bridge the divide between producer and consumer, be the ears that listens to their concerns and the voice that answers their questions and show young people the vast array of career and lifestyle opportunities which agriculture can offer them.
Drawing inspiration from Dorothea Mackellar this is Naomi’s story ……… Enjoy
I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I tend to believe that Dorothea Mackellar drew inspiration for ‘My Country’ from years exploring her family’s property in the Gunnedah district as a child. What makes me think this? Because my own passion and love of the land has been inspired by a childhood of adventure and history in Gunnedah, NSW.
Hailing from the koala capital of the world I have marvelled at many sunsets, watching the sun peek above the trees on the horizon casting an assortment of colours across the landscape.
‘A resident koala keeping an eye on the farm’
There are rich red and black soils lying in wait for the next crop, sweeping plains which transform to green pastures with the onset of summer storms.
As you look out from the hill tops you can see the backsides of grazing cattle, dutiful mothers nursing their calves and in the distance golden fields of wheat dancing in the sunlight. Growing up in such a landscape you cannot help but fall in love with the land!
Life as a child in Gunnedah was filled with weekend sports, picnics by the gully with friends and cousins, Tuesday morning cattle sales, standing up on the rails of the cattle yards ‘helping’ pick the best cattle in the mob and you could be sure that a poddy calf was never too far away. As the third generation to work our family land I have watched my father and grandfather in awe as they work cattle, plough, sow and harvest crops, fix machinery and tinker in the shed. Growing up I had always wanted to work with animals and my parents have always encouraged us to do what makes us happy. With that in the back of my mind at the age of 17 I left home and headed to uni with my big dreams and big plans in tow. Little did I know that despite all those big plans, the reality would be so much better!!
My greatest adventure so far came in 2010 when I first became involved with Intercollegiate Meat Judging (ICMJ). Little did I know this would open a world of opportunity and introduce me to people who would have resounding impacts on my life. Through the program I have had a rare insight into the beef, lamb and pork industries and was fortunate enough to be selected on the Australian National Meat Judging Team. Our team travelled to the USA for a month long industry tour in 2012. While in the US we competed in 2 meat judging competitions, toured and trained in plants owned by the three biggest meat processors in the states Tyson, JBS and Cargill, visited ranches, universities and research facilities across 10 states travelling a total of 5600 miles – sleep certainly became a luxury!
‘Our route across the USA’
From the first day of training with our university team meat judging has developed my understanding of aspects of meat production from paddock-to-plate, and has provided the opportunity to learn about agriculture and how Australia fits in a global market. It has also provided me with a deep appreciation for the millions of people who work tirelessly to supply growing global populations with a safe, high quality form of protein. Through ICMJ I was afforded one of the greatest experiences of my life which has continued to have positive impacts on my career and personal life to date…and all because I saw a flyer on a pin-board!!
‘2012 Australian Meat Judging Team at Texas Tech University’
‘Training at the University of Wyoming’
‘Enjoying some sunshine – Cattle are housed in barns through winter in Illinois’
‘Our Van – It was quite a cold trip!’
‘Visiting the National Cattleman’s Beef Association’
After such a great adventure it was time to head off on the next one and I am currently living out a life-long dream to head ‘up North’. I am working as a Grazing Lands Officer in Far North Queensland with a region of 196,000km2. My partner and I are starting our own beef herd and after meeting so many inspirational women at the National Rural Women’s Conference in Canberra recently I cannot wait to see what other adventures are waiting!
As you read through the posts on this blog and speak to people in agriculture you will see that everyone has their own adventure and story to share. There is one thing I will guarantee about agriculture, the opportunities are endless! It doesn’t matter what your background may be all you need is enthusiasm, a willingness to learn and the ability to say yes to the opportunities that are presented to you and I guarantee a great adventure will be waiting!
After all, as Dorothea wrote…
Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back threefold.