19 JUL 2022

Passion for horticulture sprouted from graduate program

Coming from a pasture background, Molly Black thought her agronomy career was destined for broadacre cropping.

She started out in 2016, having been selected for the second-ever intake of the Elders Graduate Agronomy Program.

Molly says the program began to strengthen her love for broadacre cropping.

“I did six months’ work with broadacre under the program, and really loved it,” she said.

“Everything was clicking, and I was sure I would work in broadacre agronomy.”

Molly was hesitant to step away from broadacre for her next rotation but got quite a surprise when she began working in horticulture.

“My first thoughts were ‘wow, this is such a challenge, I love this!’”

She quickly realised her career would likely look a little different to how she’d imagined. Molly is now a horticultural agronomist at Elders Robinvale in Victoria working alongside growers to boost the productivity of table grape, citrus, and avocado crops.

“The best part of the job is working closely with growers, and seeing their whole year through,” Molly said.

“Seeing the product at the end of the year is the best feeling.

“You just feel so proud.”

Molly credits the Graduate Agronomy Program with helping her to pursue her passion.

“I think that is one of the major benefits of the program, is gaining exposure to the different industries,” she said.

“I would never have had the exposure to horticulture without the program or considered horticultural agronomy as a career path – and look at where I am now.”

Recently Molly has had the opportunity to help mentor one of the new agronomy graduates which she says has been a great challenge and very rewarding.

“You can’t just learn agronomy out of a textbook, you have to see the challenges in real time and solve the problem yourself,” she said.

“It’s been great to be able to provide a new agronomist with that experience and mentorship based on the experiences that I have gained in the industry.”

Participants in Elders’ Graduate Agronomy Program can learn their trade alongside some of the industry’s leading experts. Graduates go through two six-month rotations in the first year, focused on building a foundational understanding of crop segments and the fundamentals of being an agronomist at Elders. This is followed by one 12-month rotation in the second year where graduates can specialise in a crop segment of their choice.