WHEN you meet Laine Williamson you wouldn’t know she’d spent her life in Australind.
The 20-year-old has a passion for agriculture which seems to have blossomed out of little exposure to the industry.
She grew up and went to primary school in Australind then finished high school at Bunbury Catholic College, but didn’t have a farming background.
“None of my family is into agriculture and I guess it’s good to bring it back into the family,” Laine said.
The only exposure to agriculture her family had was when her nan, Janice Williamson, was young she owned a dairy farm in Vasse which Laine never got to experience.
“My uncle, Andrew De Campo, owns a small hobby farm where he runs a pacing stables,” she said.
“I did a lot of horse riding there and that’s how I got into agriculture.”
Laine said after spending many days horse riding with her cousins she became more interested in agriculture.
“It was just from that I was lucky enough to meet people and it was all through networks and contacts,” she said.
“I met lots of people who were in the industry and that helped me get my work experience.”
Laine quickly learned that everyone knows everyone in agriculture with people at horse riding giving her an opportunity to work for “a friend of a friend” at Bell Pasture Seeds.
While at school Laine completed a few weeks of work experience, remaining in contact with Bell Pasture Seeds, she has now completed two harvests with them in the past few years.
Finishing her third year at the Muresk Institute this year studying agricultural business management, Laine said her time has gone quickly.
“I didn’t have a great deal of experience before Muresk, but since going there I have become more experienced in the world of agriculture,” she said.
“To be honest I had no idea what I would have done if it wasn’t agriculture.
“I did work experience in the middle of high school and I loved it so I thought I might as well keep going with that if I have a passion for it.”
Laine said she has always been interested in the farming lifestyle.
“I never knew a great deal, not coming from a farming background,” she said.
“But I was just interested to learn more, so I thought why not?
“If that’s an interest why not go and study something like that and it grew from there.”
Laine said it was hard to explain to people who weren’t from agriculture what she was doing.
“Everyone just says why do you want to be a farmer? They don’t realise how broad it is and how much stuff there is to do,” she said.
“They think agriculture is just outside on farms but there are a lot of other jobs you can get from it.”
With a new found love for rural WA, Laine said coming from Australind has given her a point of difference.
“I have never lived out of the South West area before so going to Muresk and staying up there was awesome for me, but I also love coming home,” she said.
“It made me realise that I am lucky to live by the coast.”
Laine said nothing would compare to the networking and contacts she had made by moving to the Central Wheatbelt.
“Not coming from an ag background, then going to somewhere like Curtin in the city, I don’t think I would of had so much exposure to the rural communities and I am starting to understand that more now, which is really good,” she said.
“Just living on campus and meeting people who live around the area has been beneficial with getting my name out there.”
While at Muresk Laine has won multiple awards for her outstanding efforts.
In her first year she was dux of her year group and she has just won a Landmark scholarship for third year students.
“I also received the top mark in agricultural marketing, which was one of my second year subjects,” she said.
“I wasn’t expecting to do that well, especially because of my background.”
The Landmark scholarship she received allows the recipient to have 20 days of work experience.
“I think it will be a bit of all Landmark areas, well I am hoping for that at least,” she said.
“The more experience I get, the more I will start to learn what I like and don’t like.
“I guess it’s a good thing that I don’t have a background because I don’t have anything specific I am after.”
Laine said she was open to anything after she graduates this October.
Living and growing up down south then studying up in the Wheatbelt has opened her up to any sort of region.
“I think not having much experience I would be keen to have a crack at anything really,” she said.
Laine hasn’t taken an interest in the agronomy side of things but she could see herself in agriculture marketing and advertising.
With a strong passion for organising field days and similar events, she said she prefers to be behind the scenes and involve herself more in the community.
“Obviously not having a lot of experience, I couldn’t see myself just walking out and being an agronomist just yet, but I still would like to be involved in those sorts of things,” she said.
Laine is working for York Euro Fins through university.
Based in York, she spends a few days helping with trials in horticulture with fruits but also broadacre, especially chemical testing.
“The only reason I have been so lucky is because everyone is willing to give you the opportunities,” she said.
“If I didn’t have that little bit of exposure in high school or if I didn’t do horse riding to begin with, I don’t think I would be involved in agriculture.”
Laine said there needed to be a lot more exposure to agriculture.
“People aren’t coming back into agriculture,” she said.
“Even going to school in Bunbury, I think my year group had 150 people, but only two of us did ag and we both went to Muresk.
“No one else was even remotely interested and a few of them have hobby farms and things like that.”
Laine said agriculture is totally different and it’s another world to what she thought, especially its culture.
“But it’s good and I love it,” she said.