This month we are saying goodbye to one of NACC NRM’s awesome team players, Lizzie King! Lizzie has been a part of our Sustainable Agriculture team for almost 14 years, and in this edition is chatting about the highlights of her time with NACC NRM.
How did you find yourself in Perenjori, WA?
I’m originally from the UK, and grew up in rural Leicestershire. After finishing Uni I spent a year traveling around Australia. At one point I was working at the Coorow Pub, which is where I met my now-husband Geoff. He followed me back to the UK before persuading me to come and join him on his family farm near Perenjori back in 2007.
How did you get into Sustainable Agriculture?
I’ve always been interested in the environment and knew that was the field I wanted to work in. When I first moved here I didn’t have much knowledge or experience in Agriculture but have learned so much living on the farm and working in natural resource management. I find sustainable agriculture really interesting and inspiring – especially working on projects that provide benefits for both the environment and for farm productivity.
How did you get started with NACC NRM?
I started working with NACC NRM back in 2008, when I got a job as an NRM officer with the Yarra Yarra Catchment Management Group, which was funded through NACC, and involved working with the rest of the NRMOs around the NAR and others on the NACC team. In 2013 the funding structure changed, and I have worked for NACC NRM since then, in a variety of roles, before ending up working on the Sus Ag team as a Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator.
Tell us about your major career highlights at NACC NRM!
Looking back there are a lot to choose from. It was great to be part of the team that brought the first bioblitz to the Midwest. I have enjoyed having the opportunity to work on several projects from start to finish, it is really satisfying to see a project idea come to fruition and turn into great on-ground outcomes. I have also enjoyed supporting farmers and others in the community to bring their project ideas to life. It was a highlight to help put together a successful proposal for some demonstration sites with Geraldton horticulturalists, to plant flowers next to their crops to encourage beneficial insects and hopefully help reduce the reliance on pesticides. One of the best things about working with NACC NRM has been the incredible variety within the job, and the opportunities to work with different groups and individuals.
What is your vision for the future of Sustainable Agriculture?
This is a hard question because I think we have a great agricultural industry, with some of the best farmers in the world in our region. I would like to see the industry be more open-minded about different practices as I think there is more than one way to farm successfully, and that different management techniques don’t have to be mutually exclusive. I would like to see a shift in thinking from always trying to maximise yield, to looking at overall profitability. For my third wish, I would love to see more funding go toward the Ag Department with greater opportunities for extension throughout the State’s farming regions!
I also hope that in the near future we see more work and research looking at the nutrient density of the crops we grow, and the links between soil health, gut health, and mental health.
What do you think makes the NAR such a special corner of the world?
The region is beautiful. Working in NRM gives you an appreciation of the incredible biodiversity we have here, and everybody knows how special our wildflower season is. But I think what makes it most special to me, are the people. The people who live on farms and in rural towns still have an amazing sense of community and it is quite special to be part of that.
What’s next for you?
After nearly 14 years (minus 3 for babies!) working with NACC, I am taking some time out of work to concentrate more on family commitments and our farm business. I love NRM and Sustainable Ag so I’m sure I’ll still see lots of people out and about, and if you can’t find me I’ll be at home in the garden or reading books!
The team at NACC NRM would like to collectively thank Lizzie for her hard work over the years, and for always being a great team player. We wish her well as she closes this chapter and embarks on the next.