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Agriculture careers get a Hart start with intern program

Hart – one of Australia’s leading agronomy trial and research organisations – offers a regional internship program in South Australia to provide a boost for young job-starters.

Apr 20, 2023, updated Jan 31, 2024
Hart regional intern Kaidy Morgan is focussing on applied grains research. Photo: Rebekah Allen.

Hart regional intern Kaidy Morgan is focussing on applied grains research. Photo: Rebekah Allen.

Kaidy Morgan is a young university graduate with a vision to help farmers feed the world with a minimal impact on the environment.

So, when she came across a regional internship being offered in the state’s Mid North to help kick-start a career in applied grains research and development, she jumped into the opportunity boots first.

Just a few months on, and Kaidy has already started making her own mark at the Hart Field-Site Group’s 10-hectare trial site in the state’s Mid North.

Now in its eighth year and supported by the South Australian Drought Hub and SARDI, the benefits of the Hart regional internship program are auguring directly through to the state’s cropping industry.

The Hart Field Day allows farmers to learn about the group’s latest agronomy trials. Photo: Gabrielle Hall.

Having grown up on a cropping and sheep farm at Mt Dutton, about 50 kilometres from Port Lincoln, Kaidy was exposed from a young age to the idea of sustainable farming, and it is something she remains passionate about.

“I’m really interested in regenerative agriculture and how we can produce enough food to feed the world without having a huge impact on the environment,” she said.

“Whether that be reducing the environmental impact, or learning how to produce food in the changing climate.

“Alterations in rainfall patterns and an increase in adverse farming conditions mean it is really important that we are developing strategies to improve resilience to these conditions and this will be part of my focus at Hart.”

Kaidy is loving the opportunity to take a hands-on approach to research in the field, and rolling up her sleeves to assist in making a tangible difference to future farming decisions following the completion of an agricultural science degree at the University of Adelaide.

“I spent last year in a glass house and lab completing my honours project investigating cover cropping and soil chemistry at CSIRO, so I am very excited to be able to see how field trials work when in a less controlled environment,” she said.

“I have always wanted to pursue a career in agricultural research and was thrilled to find an opportunity to work in this role without needing years of experience or a PhD.”

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Outgoing intern Declan Anderson said the skills and networking the internship provided had been pivotal in progressing his career, enabling him to continue in ag research on Yorke Peninsula.

“The knowledge and depth behind what Hart do and share with their interns has allowed me to step straight into the next stage of my career well-armed and ready to go,” he said.

Drought Hub director Dr Stephen Lee said partnering with Hart Field-Site Group provided the Hub an excellent opportunity to support the next generation of ag leaders and build capacity.

“Given the significant success of Hart interns, we know that this program will help to deliver a lasting legacy for the benefit of farmers across South Australia,” he said.

The internship program is a vital link for students wanting to progress into the industry according to Hart research and extension manager Rebekah Allen, who works alongside each intern in Hart’s different agronomy trials.

“It is important that we actively encourage research career pathways, particularly in regional areas,” she said.

“We also need to support early career researchers to gain practical hands-on experience in the field and engage with local farming communities.”

Applications for the next intake of interns will open in August.

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