Agriculture offers so many career paths
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Agriculture offers so many career paths - Tony Platt

Category Leadership

Tony Platt

Whether it was cleaning combs and cutters, skirting fleeces, or getting a turn on the hand piece, as a kid Tony Platt relished the role of general rouseabout during shearing time on his family farm in Central NSW.

“I have so many memories that at the time didn’t seem unique, but I have carried them with me ever since, simple things like being amongst the shearers and listening to all their stories.  I also remember my grandmother, a former shearers’ cook, who could construct a delicious baked meal out of seemingly very little, and back it up with an amazing dessert for lunch.”

Tony’s grandparents mixed farming enterprise of cross bred sheep, cattle, with some opportune fodder crops, was one of his favourite places to spend weekends, and was where he developed his deep appreciation and understanding of agriculture.

“Growing up in farming is the ideal environment as a kid and young adult. I think it equips you with so many practical skills and engenders a ‘problem solver’ mindset. That is something I’ve tried to carry through to my career and hobbies outside of work. I also have a deep understanding of how many things a piece of baling twine can fix - until you get around to fixing it properly.”

Today Tony doesn’t spend so much time in shearing sheds, but as a rural manager with Rabobank Sale Branch in Victoria, he is still very involved in agriculture.

“While we no longer have our family farm, I have the privilege now to work with over 50 different farming businesses across different commodities in my role with Rabobank. “

But whether it was banking or farming, Tony is adamant agriculture was always going to be his career path.  He chose Ag at school and included it in his studies right through to Year 12.

At Charles Sturt University Tony went on to study agriculture and environmental sciences with a Bachelor of Farm Business, later completing a Master of Environmental Science at University of New England. To be successful in agriculture and meet the challenges the industry faces, whether that is from a consumer, climate, profitability or longevity perspective, Tony believes sustainability has to be at the core.

“At the heart of farming is a strong empathy for the land and resources, but these cannot be considered in isolation to profitability and prosperity. We are, after all, running businesses. So I think those that will be successful in that space are adaptable and accepting of change, but also have a strong handle on what the key profitability drivers are in their business. I hope in some small way to contribute to that discussion with the farmers I work with.”

Tony Platt

Tony’s involvement in ag has also given him an opportunity to travel and learn. In 2017 he was selected as a representative for the dairy industry by the Department of Agriculture to travel to Nepal to assist local farmers with foot and mouth disease.

Run by the European Commission for Foot and Mouth Disease the goal is to build capacity in jurisdictions where Foot and Mouth diseases is not endemic, promoting an awareness of how it can be prevented. Representatives have an obligation to pass on their knowledge when they return, but also support a response if Australia was ever to have an outbreak.

“In Nepal, we visited farms with active outbreaks and worked alongside local and international vets that were supporting the local farmers. Not being a vet myself, I took a particular interest in the industry impacts and how a response might be coordinated if it occurred in Australia”

Today reflecting on his journey Tony admits his career within the agricultural industry is vastly different to what he had imagined but he has enjoyed both the diversity and the opportunities it has afforded him.

I chose to work for Rabobank as Agriculture is its core. With a strong passion for agriculture and keen interest in farm business profitability it seemed like a logical fit. It has enabled me to diversify my skills and work in partnership with a range of amazing farmers doing amazing things.”

For National Ag Day Tony hopes to be sampling some of the fantastic produce that Gippsland has to offer, where he reckons some of Australia’s best food is produced by the world’s leading farmers.”

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