Wimmera Farmer presents a monthly feature that profiles young people in agriculture and looks at what drove them to a life on the land.
FROM falling off horses at top end cattle stations to growing new lines of wheat at Longerenong, Dimboola’s Kate Cross has done it all.
Kate, 24, knew she wanted to work in agriculture ever since she was child.
She grew up on a stud and cattle farm in Ocean Grove, before moving to the Wimmera when she was in year 7.
“When I first moved, I had no idea what barley and wheat were, but I knew I wanted to find out,” she said.
After finishing school at Horsham’s St Brigid’s College she studied an Advanced Diploma of Agriculture and a Diploma of Agronomy at Longerenong College.
Kate said at the time, she thought about working at Bayer CropScience, but life in northern Australia was calling.
After she finished her studies, Kate decided to go up north for a year.
“I ended up staying for three years,” she said.
She started work at a station in Rocklands for the Western Grazing Company.
“We ran 20,000 to 30,000 head, pending on the conditions, which weren’t great at the time,” she said.
“I then went to a station near the Adelaide River with the Australian Agricultural Company, where I was a technical assistant and collected data.”
Kate then moved to Carrum station in Julia Creek, Queensland where she was also a stud supervisor.
Kate believes working on cattle stations was the best experience and she encouraged other people to go for it.
“Get involved, have a go – it’s so rewarding,” she said.
“Some people find it hard to get into, but you get out what you put in.” Kate said women could do anything men could do.
“There are plenty of girls doing jobs that blokes can do,” she said.
“Jobs such as drenching cows or drafting them are often done better by women.
“People shouldn’t be afraid to have a go.”
Kate said she learned many life lessons from her time up north.
“I got kicked by cows a few times and once I fell off a mare and opened my eyes to see all these cows looking down at me,” she said.
“But you learn about yourself as well and I would do it again in a heartbeat.”
“It is amazing where agriculture can take you – science and technology are so important."Dimboola's Kate Cross
Earlier this year, Kate moved back to the Wimmera and started work at Bayer CropScience, where she is a wheat breeding technical assistant in the company’s Glasshouse.
“I assist with the production of new lines of wheat and growing parent lines,” she said. “Our work is all about making things more efficient.”
Kate said there was some crossover between her work at Bayer and with cattle.
“It is a technical role, so it is still all about data,” she said.
“The job is not as physical as being on the stud was, and I do miss chasing cows around.
“I learn something new every day though.”
Kate said the science side of agriculture was fascinating.“It is amazing where agriculture can take you – science and technology are so important,” she said.
“The things we can do with technology now is incredible and Bayer is only a tiny slice of the big picture.”
While Kate loves her role at Bayer, cows are not far from her mind.
“Going forward I hope to start my own cattle stud one day – I’ve been saying that for about three years now, but it’s a slow process,” she said.
“I would also like to continue my role with Bayer.”