Sarah Ziebarth joined the Sustainable Agriculture team at NQ Dry Tropics in Townsville as a Graduate Agricultural Extension Officer in April 2019. She was one of six graduates in the Graduate Agriculture Extension Program aimed at improving capacity in extension services across the Great Barrier Reef catchments. Graduates worked across the sugarcane and grazing industries from Cape York to Bundaberg.
In May 2020, the first cohort graduated from the program at a virtual graduation ceremony. All six graduates, based at different organisations throughout the state, celebrated by sharing videos that highlighted their experiences alongside project partners and industry members.
Each graduate learned a wide variety of skills and experienced many opportunities. For Sarah, that included being able to shadow experienced field officers and meet landholders who were undertaking a broad range of innovative approaches to help improve grazing land management.
Sarah graduated from the University of Queensland, Gatton Campus with a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Science, majoring in Agronomy, in 2018. Being a part of the program provided her with a jam packed, broad perspective of the industry and the realities of working on the ground.
“It has opened my eyes to so many early adopters and producers who are doing innovative things with their grazing businesses that can’t be taught in a classroom,” Sarah said.
Sarah also had the opportunity to be mentored by Central Highlands Regional Resources Use Planning Cooperatives (CHRRUP) in Emerald, and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) at Charters Towers.
The Agricultural Extension Work Placement Program is delivered by the Rural Jobs and Skills Alliance (led by Queensland Farmers Federation) and funded by the Queensland Government Reef Water Quality Program and the partnership between the Australian Government Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.