Ask Emma Ayliffe about her childhood and she’ll tell you that she “lived the dream”.
For a kid growing up in the north west pastoral country of South Australia, having a two million acre backyard where she could go pony riding, chase sheep, drive tractors and go yabbying, one would certainly have to agree!
Growing up on stations and farms, Emma always helped out where she was needed, which was how she developed an interested in agriculture from an early age.
That passion for the industry took her to University of Adelaide where Emma studied a Bachelor of Science – Agricultural Science.
Upon completing her Undergrad course, Emma has since undertaken a Graduate Certificate in Cotton Production and is pursuing her Masters in Ag Science.
Although she originally thought she’d end up working with animals, her University studies drew her towards the cropping side of the agricultural sector, and that is where she has forged her career.
“I was thinking that I would probably end up working with animals but Uni definitely drew me more towards cropping and that is where I have ended up,” Emma said.
Currently working for Elders, in Griffith as a consulting agronomist, Emma works primarily with cotton, but also helps grow a large range of crops from rice to munbeans in the summer through to cereals and legumes in the winter.
”The second part of my job is R,D&E which is a brand new role. I help facilitate trials in the southern region for industry as well as suppliers,” Emma said.
My job is to just try and help the growers to be as productive as possible while ensuring that we are adhering to best practice for our industryEmma Ayliffe
“Once again I am primarily focused on cotton but aim to expand this going forward. I have only been with elders for 6 months.
“My job is to just try and help the growers to be as productive as possible while ensuring that we are adhering to best practice for our industry.”
Emma hopes to share the good news stories in agriculture and fill the gaps between those in the industry and with those who may find themselves disconnected.
“I feel that it is important for everyone to have their opinion on issues and ideas, but it needs to be an opinion formed on knowledge and understanding, be it good or bad,” she said.
“The agriculture industry is truly amazing, and I feel privileged to wake up every morning and do the ‘job’ that I do, and while slushing around a rice paddy or chasing bugs in the summer may not be everyone’s cup of tea there are so many great opportunities in the industry.”
”The disconnect between people in the agriculture industry and those who are not, now more than ever the social license for agriculture is so important, and it is going to get more important in the future.
Emma said seeing this gap filled in would be amazing.
“Having every kid in every school everywhere in Australia know where their food comes from I think is so important,” she said.
Emma said one of the things she would like to see changed in the agricultural industry is the disconnect between those in the agricultural industry and those not.
“Also the disconnect between different agriculture sectors,” Emma said.
“People within the industry are often segregated based on what they do i.e. cotton grower, broad acre farmer, sheep cockie and I think as an agriculture industry we need to do a better of job of being a united.”
While she’ll currently be working to complete her masters degree, Emma will also be continuing to share her love for all things agriculture.
“At the moment I want to keep being involved in the broader agriculture industry through programs like Young Farming Champions and Future Cotton Leaders and just take whatever opportunities I am able to earn my way into. Keep working hard and keep learning the ‘art’ and ‘science’ of agronomy,” she said.