Monarto's Grace Sampson has always loved agriculture, but in recent years, her passion to inspire the next generation to become involved in the industry has grown stronger and stronger.
Grace was named winner of the Rural Youth Bursary at the Agricultural Bureau of SA's Spirit of Excellence in Agriculture Awards in October last year, and has also received a contract to teach agriculture and science at Murray Bridge High School, beginning this year.
She is excited to start a new journey, having worked in a variety of agricultural roles in the past decade, including livestock nutrition, involvement in Dairy SA's 'Cows Create Careers' program, guest speaking, and more recently, relief teaching work.
"It's been great being involved in a few industries before finding one that lights the fire, and I'm heading towards hopefully being a full-time agriculture teacher one day," Grace said.
RELATED READING:Year 12 graduates shine in school ag subjects
She has a Bachelor of Agriculture and a Diploma of Education under her belt, but believes her time in a variety of roles will be just as useful in the classroom as her qualifications.
"If I want to promote agriculture in school, I need to have some credibility by having some years of experience, I think that's really important," she said.
She said she was looking forward to enlightening students on the broad nature of agriculture.
"I'm yet to find an industry that isn't in some way involved with or reliant on agriculture. I think agriculture is the most important industry in the world, and the possibilities are endless," she said.
"It's food on your plate, and clothes on your back, and I don't know why it's being overlooked in some schools."
Agriculture is a bit of a hereditary industry, and it's good to bring some new blood in.
Grace hopes to create an agriculture program that is able to be taught across all schools, with this idea being key component of her Bursary application.
She supported the idea of making agriculture a compulsory subject, but she said it was important to ensure those teaching were delivering the correct message.
"We have to be really careful with who is educating, we have so many job opportunities coming up, and we will need people educated in agriculture, who know what's going on," she said.
Agriculture still a 'hereditary industry'
Instilling a love of agriculture in people from a young age is vital, according to Grace, who views agriculture as "a hereditary industry".
Her brother, Jasper Ball, is a farm contractor in the Adelaide Hills, but she said his involvement in agriculture was largely as a result of his exposure to agriculture from a young age, with the pair having grown up on a dairy farm in England, before moving to Australia when Grace was 12 years old.
"My brother went to a school which didn't offer agriculture, but it's lucky that agriculture is a passion of our family, and so agriculture is where my brother turned back to," she said.
RELATED READING:Passion recognised in Loxton educator
"Had agriculture not been a passion of our family, there is no way Jasper would have ended up in the agricultural industry.
"You've got to catch students' interest in high school, otherwise it will be too late.
"I know a few people in industry who don't have an agricultural background, which is so exciting. Agriculture is a bit of a hereditary industry, and it's good to bring some new blood in," she said.
- Start the day with all the big news in agriculture. Click here to sign up to receive our daily Stock Journal newsletter.