Farming for the future

Agricultural Science valedictorian Peta Stockwell is confident the skills she’s learned at The University of Queensland will serve her well in a challenging time for the agricultural sector.

Agriculture, the environment and rural communities were a passion from an early age, and Ms Stockwell plans use the knowledge she’s gained to help the land she loves.

“Northern Australia holds a special place in my heart and being able to contribute to the production systems and rural communities there is definitely a goal for me,” Ms Stockwell said.

“I studied at UQ because of the tropical focus of the Agricultural Science degree, and I am hoping to be involved in these production systems in the future.”

The graduand has an exceptional academic record from her time at UQ, receiving six Deans Commendations for Academic Excellence as well as numerous awards and scholarships.

She said she was grateful and humbled by the support she was given throughout her degree.

“I approached my studies with the view that if it was worth doing, then it was worth doing well, and to be able to achieve the results I wanted, I knew I had to put in the hard yards.

“The financial assistance has been incredible and has gone a long way in funding my studies, however the scholarships and prizes also go further in adding meaning to my university experience.

“Many prizes are funded by past students of the agricultural science degree, so it’s nice to feel included and supported by the larger cohort of agricultural scientists.”

Ms Stockwell also paid tribute to her peers and the staff and academics at UQ Gatton in particular.

“Our teaching staff have so often gone above and beyond what is required, and being a part of a community where you’re known by name in the library, café and administration buildings by staff really added to the sense of community,” she said.

“At the end of the day, none of us would be able to achieve what we have without the help of others, and I believe at UQ Gatton, we have been particularly fortunate in the support we have received.

She said it was an exciting time to be an agriculture graduate, despite the difficulties facing the sector.

“The need for skilled agricultural producers and professionals is huge.

“Agriculture and the environment go hand in hand - our farmers are custodians of their land, their most valuable asset, often over multiple generations.

“Working on the land within the environment is something that inspired my passion for agriculture from a young age, and I believe Australia’s environmental stewardship of agricultural lands is something to be valued and will continue to improve in the future.”

“I hope I am able to use the skills and knowledge I have been fortunate enough to gain through my education to help add value to agricultural production systems and rural communities.”

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