Growing up on the Sunshine Coast, Dave Clancy traded sand for soil when he began the Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) Agricultural Extension Work Placement Program which aims to improve capacity in extension services across the Great Barrier Reef.
During his Bachelor of Environmental Science, Dave chose various agricultural electives which he had a keen interest in. Combining working on farms during university and school holidays with having a father who is an agronomist, Dave saw a career in agriculture as a likely option.
“When I saw the QFF graduate program advertised I was instantly excited, it looked like the perfect job that was geared towards achieving efficient and sustainable farming methods,” Dave said.
Dave is based in the Mackay region with a company called Farmacist, which provides agronomic services, geo-spatial data collection and research, development, and extension services for the sugarcane industry.
“There is such a diverse range of projects at Farmacist, which is exciting as no two weeks are the same. I work with a great team who are hardworking, helpful and fun to be around.”
A significant amount of his time was spent working on Project Bluewater, which is funded by the Great Barrier Reef Foundation (GBRF). The project focuses on reducing agricultural pesticide loads entering waterways by working with growers and other industry stakeholders to bring about positive practice change.
Dave’s thinking has evolved to “if pesticides are in the waterways, then they are not in the paddock doing their job, so it ends up as a lose-lose situation for the growers and the environment”.
Through the project, Dave and the rest of the team have been helping sugarcane growers change their pesticide management strategies to improve spraying efficiencies, achieve effective weed control and make better product choices to reduce chemical run-off.
Dave has also been able to attend multiple conferences and training events across the country with the Agricultural Extension Work Placement Program. This has given him a wider perspective of the agricultural industry and the opportunity to connect with many different people.
“The program has been such a great experience and the perfect way to begin my career. Looking back over the last year, I can see how much I have learned and developed in my profession and I can definitely attribute a lot of that to the opportunities that were provided through the QFF graduate program. I have gained so much from this program and I think it’s a very effective tool for bringing young and motivated people into agriculture.”
Dave also enjoyed moving to a new area. During the week, his afternoons and evenings are packed with fitness and sport and, on the weekends, he can be found fishing and exploring tropical islands.
“I absolutely love it in Mackay and am never short of things to do. The program has had a positive impact on both my professional and personal life. I’d recommend it to anyone who’s interested in a career in agriculture.
“It has been a whirlwind of new experiences, but I have learnt so much, made many new connections and had a great time along the way.”
The Agricultural Extension Work Placement Program is delivered by the Rural Jobs and Skills Alliance (led by QFF) and funded by the Queensland Government’s Reef Water Quality Program and the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.