Greener pastures are right here

​Budding agriculturist James White need look no further for his career inspiration than the sprawling farm that has been in his family for generations. But that doesn’t mean he won’t shake things up a little.

 
Audio transcript

[James White] The thing that’s great about being on a farm is just being outdoors. I just love the connection with nature, working with animals, growing crops that kind of stuff.

Our family farm has been established since 1869. And I’ll be the sixth generation to farm it.

The thing about farming is it’s kind of a special job to me, like you’re feeding the nation in a way.

I think it’s one of the most important jobs and it often gets overlooked I suppose.

Here at school I learn, well a lot of the science stuff around agriculture actually 'cos I find that interesting and we've got the resources here to learn it.

But I’m also involved out in the farm when we’re practicing leading so we’ll be doing that soon in the next couple of months.

Well, learning different things in agricultural science is important for the sustainability of agriculture I think. You can’t keep doing things the same way.

But it’s also important to acknowledge traditions that you’ve done and why you did them. Particularly in the agronomy side of things, looking into more natural fertilizers and that sort of stuff is quite handy going into the future in sustainable agriculture.

[Ron Webb - VCE Agriculture and Horticulture Teacher, Rutherglen High School] The reality is we need people who are going to be good at research and development. And that is an area I think James may end up in.

So research and development is important so that we can actually assist those people on the ground to actually be able to produce with less and do it better.

So that’s why I think James is, yeah why people like him are really important to have in the industry.

[James White] When I first got my score, I was thinking “oh I didn’t quite get my 50 I was aiming for” which that’s what I suppose you aim for, everyone tries.

But yeah, when I found out I actually got a Premier’s Award, I was like “wow, maybe I did do pretty well and my work paid off”. So I was pretty happy. Yeah.

In ten years’ time I’d like to be running my own farm, living the dream, and actually seeing some good profits from it and developing the family farm a bit more, and being part of the new sustainable agriculture sector I suppose, just leading a bit of change in the industry. Yeah.

“I would ultimately like to help run the family farm and lead a positive change to help build a sustainable agriculture industry,” he explained. “You can’t keep doing things the same way, but it’s important to acknowledge traditions that you’ve done and why you did them.”

James, who is currently completing Year 12 at Rutherglen High School, was recently awarded a Premier’s VCE Award for his outstanding performance in VCE VET Agriculture and Horticulture Studies.

Passionate about working the land, James has been riding tractors since he was eight and feels that the importance of farming is often overlooked. “It’s a special job – you’re feeding the nation, in a way,” he explains.

James was one of 290 students from across the state to receive a Premier’s VCE Award, and although he was flattered – the call of the countryside still beckons.

“In 10 years’ time, I’d like to be running my own farm, living the dream, and actually seeing some good profits from it,” he says.

“I’d like to develop the family farm, be part of the new sustainable agriculture sector and lead a bit of change in the industry.”