Working in the Australian temperate fruit industries is full of surprises; the constant demand to produce safe, clean quality fruit weighs continually on our farmers. My name is Jessica Fearnley and I work as a researcher to help farmers supply this fruit to you!
Working for the NSW Department of Primary Industries in Orange I start my day by visiting Australian growers to talk about the problems that may be stopping them from producing tasty fruit. I then go to my office and research how we can fix these problems so I can get back to the farmers with answers which will result in a better crunch in your apple!
How I got into agriculture
In school I had the best agriculture teacher who was passionate about feeding the world. Her enthusiasm was contagious and it sparked my interest in agriculture. Because of this I studied a Bachelor of Rural Science at the University of New England in Armidale. While I was at university I was involved with many committees looking to make differences in agriculture – the highlight for me was being the Industry Dinner Representative of UNE’s Farming Future’s Committee. In my final year of university I completed an honours project investigating the use of phosphorous fertilisers in alkaline soils, igniting my love for soil!
My work today
After finishing university I was lucky enough to be awarded the Crawford Fund International Student Award and I completed a research project in Cambodia. This project looked at the different pest and disease crops that effect horticulture crops in North-West Cambodia. This experience really opened my eyes to the challenges farmers in this area face every day and how grateful they are to have help and advice. These experiences have helped shaped me into the person I am today; ready to make a difference in feeding the world!
Jess is a CEAT Emerging Leader, who took part in evokeAG 2020 with support from CEAT. We look forward to seeing her continue to grow and contribute in the field of soil and temperate fruit management. Read more about Jess’ work with the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries here.