Jesse Bowman grew up on the north coast of northern New South Wales. Surrounded by both natural rainforest and agriculture, he developed a passion for environmental management and sustainability.

Shortly after completing his Bachelor of Environment Science/Marine Science and Management in 2019, Jesse was successful in gaining a place with 15 other graduates in the Queensland Farmers’ Federation’s (QFF) Agricultural Extension Work Placement Program.

Jesse was placed with Sugar Research Australia (SRA) in Brandon as part of a new adoption team, located in the Burdekin Shire in Queensland and was paired with mentor Anthony Curro.

Jesse was involved in the Cane to Creek 2.0 (C2C 2.0) program which aims to support sugarcane growers to achieve changes in practice that result in improved nutrient, chemical, pesticide, and sediment runoff at the paddock and sub-catchment level.

The practice change is facilitated by ‘grower-led’ water quality monitoring trials whereby the grower elects a change in their farming system to test an alternate practice that may increase productivity, profitability and sustainability.

“Throughout my studies, I have been interested in water quality, and I think the Cane to Creek 2.0 project has provided an excellent avenue for me to learn more about water quality in a reef management and agricultural context, while gaining hands-on practical experience,” Jesse said.

“With extension activities, it is not only the workshop or training itself that takes a lot of effort, but also the planning and organising that goes into each event. I have been fortunate enough to be involved with a variety of sessions of this kind during my graduate program.”

Jesse’s role also includes supporting other SRA projects and program activities such as the SRA/Burdekin Productivity Services bi-annual grower shed meeting, the Soil Health Project’s Legume 101 workshop and Improved Irrigation Efficiency and Management workshops run by the University of Southern Queensland/SRA. He also undertook the Burdekin Regional Scan Project with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

“The QFF graduate program has enabled me to undertake many extension and technical related workshops and training sessions. I have attended and participated in sessions ranging from soil, nutrient and water management, GIS, farm business, economics, sugar pricing and marketing, to workshops on refining facilitation and enabling change,” Jessie said.

“I believe this graduate program is an amazing opportunity for me to develop professionally and build a career as an extension officer, project manager or field agronomist.”

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.

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