Charles Sturt University
Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation

#AgDayAU spotlight on researchers

In the lead up to National Agriculture Day on Friday 20 November we’ve invited some of our researchers to share their story and why primary industries inspires them.

There's opportnity in agriculture

Dr Michael CampbellDr Michael Campbell is a livestock producer, researcher and is passionate about supporting young people in the industry.

“Agriculture is the place to be,” he said. “Every person and every country in the world is involved with agriculture.

“Research is dynamic, each day there are new problems that need to be solved and many are complex and quite ‘wicked’ – especially in agriculture.

“Without innovations teams of farmers, researchers, students and industry professionals conducting research the agricultural industries will not be able to adapt to change and keep progressing.”

Dr Campbell has this message on National Agriculture Day.

“I love working and living in Agriculture, it has provide myself and my family with so many opportunities to travel, meet exciting people and at the end of the day produce highly nutritious food for the human population while directly managing the environment on our farm. How good is that!

“We need you, if you are finishing high school and considering what you will do career wise, consider Agriculture – no experience necessary, just enthusiasm and you will go places.”

Making a difference

Kayla KoppCharles Sturt University student Kayla Kopp is from the Central West of NSW and has a strong appreciation for the work of farmers in providing food and fibre.

"Growing up on a sheep and cropping property I have always been involved in agriculture," she said.

"It's such an important industry providing food and clothing for people around the world.

"I love being involved in an industry which has a profound effect on daily life.”

She's been able to combine her interest in livestock production, a thirst for knowledge and a desire to make a difference in her PhD study.

"My research is focusing on lamb survival, with the biggest driver of my research being my passion for the sheep industry and increasing profitability on farm," she said.

"I love making a difference to farmers and animals lives."

Research for climatically resilient production

Phil Eberbach“I enjoy working on farms, undertaking research in collaboration with farmers to seek solutions to problems which threaten the productive capacity and sustainability of our farming systems,” said Charles Sturt University Associate Professor Phil Eberbach.

Professor Eberbach has a lifelong passion for farming and agriculture – with particular empathy toward grain production.

“Sustaining a reliable and equitable food supply system into the future, sufficient to meet nutritional needs of a further 3 billion people is the major goal of the planet’s agriculture fraternity," Professor Eberbach said.

“Despite the many challenges facing contemporary grain farmers, the two major standout challenges are the maintenance of crop production in the face of a warmer and drier climate, and increased competition for water, nutrients and light by an increasingly herbicide-resistant weed population.

“My drive in research deals with developing new appropriate tools or farming system interventions, making our current grain production systems more climatically resilient.”

Beyond the farm gate

Professor Chris BlanchardCharles Sturt University Professor Chris Blanchard is a molecular biologist and leads our research investigating grain quality and functional foods - to increase the value of Australian grain.

"Sometimes we forget that the aim of agriculture is to produce food and fibre," Professor Blanchard said.

"Food scientists take the raw ingredients from agriculture and produce food products that are desired by consumers."

He's a firm advocate of this paddock to plate approach.

"Increasingly consumers what to know where their food comes from," he said.

"They want to make sure it is produced in a safe and sustainable way.

"By tracking our food from paddock to plate, consumers can be confident that the attributes of the food they eat are aligned with their values and expectations."

He has a simple message when you are planning your #AgDayAU lunch.

"Choose food that is Australian made and support our local industries."

Here for the long haul

John PiltzJohn Piltz is a livestock research officer at the NSW Department of Primary Industries working in forage conservation ad feed evaluation.

"Agriculture is in the business of producing food, and access to good quality food is a basic need of all people," Mr Piltz said.

"So I see my work in agriculture as committing to improving people’s lives.

"I think farmers are interesting, hardworking and committed people and enjoy working with them and trying to improve their business.

"Demand for agricultural products is constantly increasing as the world population grows and the standards of living around the world rise.

"Research is essential to deliver new technologies that will increase agricultural output for the same or less resources. It's about making agriculture more efficient but also more sustainable.

"Agriculture is here for the long haul; while ever people need food we all need agriculture," Mr Piltz said.

Join in the celebrations on social media using the #AgDayAu and #hatsofftoaussiefarmers