HAVING a taste for agriculture has been beneficial for Nicholas Hardie who is firmly entrenched in the industry.
The Crossman young gun might only be 21-years-old but he is already an area manager for CSBP and has progressed to a more senior role than he could have imagined.
“I am the area manager for West Arthur and Darkan, although because I am living at Crossman, I also cover Wandering, Boddington and Williams,” Nick said.
Nick grew up in Boddington and attended the local district high school until Year 7.
Like many country children, at the age of 12 he continued his education boarding at Aquinas College in Perth for Years 8 and 9.
“I got to Year 10 and I realised I wanted to be an auto electrician, so I left Aquinas and went to Harvey Ag, (WA College of Agriculture, Harvey),” Nick said.
“I had heard the trades program there was pretty good so I gave it a go.”
In the same year Nick’s parents leased out the Crossman farm to his uncle and relocated to Mandurah.
Nick spent three years at the college, where the school opened up more farming opportunities and his passion for agriculture grew.
“After I started at Harvey I really got back into agriculture – the older I have got, the more my passion has grown and one day I hope to have a farm of my own.”
His learning continued in 2013, when he relocated to the Muresk Institute in Northam to study agricultural business management.
Throughout his time at Muresk he was involved with student committees and study tours and went on a student trip to Europe in 2016.
Nick was also a committee member of the youth agriculture movement Ag Connect from 2014 -2016, overseeing membership recruitment.
This helped improved his understanding of young people in agriculture and got him more involved in the ag community.
Nick has jumped at any opportunity to weave his way further into the farming world but he realised not all areas were suited to him.
After completing a summer program with the Commonwealth Bank in 2015, Nick discovered he didn’t enjoy ag business banking.
“I just wanted to be out in the field more,” he said.
“I didn’t have the patience to complete the admin work before I could be hands-on, which is why I enjoy my current role.
“I get the chance to talk to people, travel and be on a farm every day.”
After graduating from Muresk in October last year, Nick started thinking about his future and what his next step would be.
With limited experience he was hesitant about securing a job straight after completing university, until the CSBP opportunity came up.
“I saw something on Facebook that said if Donald Trump can be president, you can do anything, so I just applied for the job, not thinking I would get it,” Nick said.
Within weeks he completed tests and interviews for CSBP and towards the end of the month, after completing his exams, Nick was appointed Moora area manager.
“It was hard at first, you get chucked in the deep end and have to try to learn the ropes of every farmer in the area,” Nick said.
“You become like a second agronomist, you have to be full bottle on everything farming, not just fertiliser.”
In March he relocated to his parents’ Crossman farm after taking on the West Arthur area manager role for CSBP.
He hopes to spend the next few years based in the area.
One of his long-term dreams is to travel and expand his knowledge by working in horticulture or on a station.
Nick would also like to spend some time in Canada for a harvest to experience a different style of operation.
After that Nick said he would like to return to the family farm and work it with his uncle Brad.
In the long-term he wants to take over the original 1215 hectares (3000 acres) his parents farmed, for sheep and cropping.
“The unarable acreage is high in this area with the hills and bush land, so here we benefit from sheep,” Nick said.
“Also this year we had a lot of water logging from the wet start which can cause crop loss.”
Nick is finishing off forecasts for next year before he uses his quiet time to help with harvest on the farm.