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Lucy Watt's success story

Hailing from a family farm in Cumnock in Central West New South Wales, Lucy Watt has always had a love for Agriculture.

“My family has a prime lamb property,” Lucy said, “my dad is also an agronomist which sparked my interest in the interaction between soils, plants and animal health.”


Lucy’s passion guided her to study an agricultural-based degree at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga. She completed a Bachelor of Animal Science degree and spent an Honours year in Michigan in the United States, which she credits for sparking her interest for research and why she decided to undertake a PhD.

“Animals have been a really big part of my life. I love the research side of the industry and there are not many young people who tend to go into Agriculture. I saw it as a really good career choice for me,” Lucy said.

“Agricultural research is especially enticing. Farmers and people in the industry are always looking at ways to improve the industry, allowing it to go from strength to strength. And what's more exciting than being able to contribute to your industry from the ground roots?”

Through her PhD, Lucy’s project is investigating a second generation of annual pasture legumes and their impact on livestock, specifically sheep, production.

“I’m looking at growth rates of the animals but also how the plant affects the animal from a metabolism aspect – how they are metabolising and how is it affecting their production and ultimately, also their health,” Lucy said.

In early 2017 Lucy was recognised for her hard work, when she was awarded an Australia Day Award sponsored by the Country Women's Association Sydney branch, to help further her postgraduate studies.

Lucy’s project has also raised interest in the Riverina area, where she was completing her project. Her research has been very timely, with many of the legumes she is studying, currently being introduced into grazing rotations. The legumes are more drought tolerant and able to thrive in adverse conditions, so local farmers are interested in her project results, as it could allow them to remain sustainable and viable into the future.

Lucy recently moved to Brisbane and is looking forward to finishing her thesis, which she plans to submit by March 2018. In the short term, she wants to gain some more experience and make wider connections in the industry. While her long term goal, is to lecture in ruminant nutrition, livestock production, and encourage young people to be a part of the industry, especially agricultural research.

“I would love to encourage other young people to do careers not just Agricultural science and research, but in the industry as a whole,” Lucy said.

“There are no limits in Agriculture - I came from a town with 250 people and I've travelled overseas, done Agricultural research in the US and I’ve received numerous awards as well. It just shows that if you put yourself out there and do well in the industry, it doesn't matter where you come from - whether it's the country or the city, big or small.”

Lucy’s tips for others who want to enter the industry:

  • Don't be afraid. There's always jobs in Agriculture and in my opinion, it's probably the best career that you can get into. A career in Agriculture will not only have a long and amazing impact on the industry, but also Australia as a whole. Agriculture is the backbone of our country.
  • In Agriculture, you're working with the seasons and sometimes things don’t go to plan. So it's important for people to have an open mind and be adaptable to a range of environments.

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