Moree women pioneering agriculture’s digital frontier

THE evolution of digital ag is proving so meteoric, future job titles for rural industries are difficult to define – but the latest offering from the Join the Ag Revolution campaign offers a glimpse of what’s in store. 

For young professional Alice Clark, it’s already challenging to pinpoint her exact role in the digital ag space.

“Agriculture is moving so quickly. One week I am gathering data, the next I’m using it to problem solve, and then I’m helping educate farmers,” Alice said.

“Progression and innovation is ongoing, and it’s a really exciting time to see where it all leads.”

Alice, together with Brooke Sauer, are two women helping pioneer the new digital agricultural frontier.

Based in Moree, they make up McGregor Gourlay’s digital ag team which was developed after recognising their customers were overwhelmed – and underprepared – for the digital revolution.

McGregor Gourlay Digital Ag specialists, Brooke Sauer and Alice Clarke, are excited by the ever-expanding scope of rural career paths.

And they’re inviting all future agricultural leaders to Join the Ag Revolution, in the third instalment of the campaigns video profiles.

Join the Ag Revolution, an initiative of Gwydir Valley Irrigators Association, was created to showcase and promote rural industries, and the passionate people behind them.

With a social media platform intended to best capture the targeted audience of graduates and job seekers, Gwydir Valley Irrigators Association executive officer Zara Lowien said the project was also about promoting positive agricultural stories.

“Obviously there is a huge focus on the dry season at the moment, and rightly so, but precision agriculture, increased production capabilities and water-saving innovations are all reflective of an industry brimming with opportunity,” Zara said.

“And we’re going to need key, skilled people on the ground to take this agricultural revolution forward.

“Job roles and diversity within the industry is so broad, these films are intended to highlight and promote the myriad opportunities – from irrigation technicians, agronomists and engineers.

“The scope of agriculture is shifting,” she said.

Having experienced first-hand the progression of the industry towards digital, Brooke describes the growth as ‘phenomenal’.

“In my time we’ve gone from no till, to controlled traffic and now we’re looking into a digital space where the possibilities and opportunities are endless,” Brooke said.

“Ultimately what we will achieve is full paddock to plate transparency, whereby each loaf of bread or each packet of pasta will be traceable right back to the paddock its grain was grown in.”

With tech start-ups potentially creating 540,000 jobs by 2033, Brooke said now is the time to engage and capture youth, and entice them away from the cities and into rural Australia.

“We have an industry with so much untapped potential, and we’re looking for tomorrow’s leaders, today,” Brooke said.

Go to Facebook to see Ryan’s video, shot by Rabbit Hop Films, and keep up to date with industry developments.

Words and Image: Georgina Poole