Celebrating Women and Girls in Science: Career Opportunities in Agriculture
Forget your preconceived notions of science and scientists! Science can be fun, hands-on, in the dirt and it is definitely for women and girls!
The International Day of Women and Girls in Science (IDWGIS) is an annual celebration aimed at promoting the role of women and girls in science and highlighting the need for gender equality in STEM fields. This year, the focus of IDWGIS is on the connection between women and girls in science and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), so this is a great time to showcase why agriculture is a great field for scientifically-minded girls and women.
Science and Agriculture: A Match Made in Heaven
Agriculture is a constantly evolving field, and it's always exciting to see what's new and coming up next. There are many sciences that come into play in agriculture, such as biology, chemistry, physics, and environmental science, and there are so many different career paths you can take.
Career opportunities are diverse, including agronomy, veterinary science, food science, animal training, soil science, climate science, and more. For previous IDWGIS we have featured our wonderful camel vet Dr Margie Bale and the amazing Associate Professor Dr Nidhi Bansal from the University of Queensland who works with us to do research on Camel Milk.
Dr Margie Bale BVSc MRCVS | Dr Nidhi Bansal Associate Professor UQ
Scientific Principles in Animal Training
In animal training, scientific principles are used to shape the behaviour of animals in a desired way. It also involves using scientific methods to understand the underlying motivations, emotions, and abilities of animals, and to design training programs that are effective and humane.
Our head Cameleer, Toni Hall, leads our team in rides, the dairy and camel training. We use low-stress stock handling techniques when moving or training our camels. It’s very important to move the camels in a manner that doesn’t cause them stress, especially in the dairy because stressed camels won’t give them any milk.
When training or working with our riding camels, our team are continually assessing the behaviour of the animals, watching out for trigger points, looking for signs of stress and signs that they are calm. For example, when camels chew their cud, it is a sign that they are calm and not under stress.
Most of our camels started their lives as feral animals in the outback, with little or no interaction with humans for many generations. The process of training them for the dairy or for riding follows sound principles taking into account general behavioural science principles and low stress stock handling techniques but also taking into account the temperament of the individual camel.
Toni has developed a progressive training program that all our riding camels are taken through but the big variable is temperament. Camels like Frankie and Longreach are, by nature, happy to accept each step of the training and quickly progressed through the program. Other camels such as Drover can take much longer to become comfortable with each progressive challenge. Drover took nearly two years to become the wonderful, solid riding camel that he is today.
With recent advances in technology and connectivity, there are more opportunities in agriculture than ever before. Summer Land Camel’s commitment to innovation and utilising science to create value-added products is a great example of how technology and science can be used to improve the sustainability of the agriculture industry, whilst offering customers unique and differentiated products. Some examples of this are our Camel Milk Vodka, Skincare Range and Camel Milk Cheese.
Agriculture is all about bringing different disciplines together, like science, technology, and social sciences. This is key to ensuring sustainable agriculture, as it helps farmers make informed decisions that balance economic, social, and environmental factors. Careers in human behaviour and social sciences can help drive positive change and deliver impactful outcomes.
A Greater Purpose
The vision of Summer Land Camels can be summed up in four words: Feel Well. Do Good. We want to revolutionise human health by bringing to market Camel Milk products that help to restore health and vitality. The other part of this, Do Good points to our efforts to save the Australian Wild Camels. Feral camels in the Australian Outback are a problem but rather than indiscriminately culling them, we are helping to create a commercial pathway for this abundant untapped resource unique to Australia. This is another example of how combining science and agriculture can make a difference.
Exciting Times Ahead: The Future of Agriculture
The future of agriculture is looking bright! With emerging technologies like precision agriculture, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and genomics, the agriculture sector is set to grow and have even more impact in the next 10-20 years. With the global population set to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, the demand for food and resources will only continue to rise.
So, if you are a girl or young woman with a passion for science, technology and innovation (or if you know one), you should definitely consider a career in agriculture. Even if you haven't grown up around farms, you can still learn and be part of this exciting field. By applying scientific methods to innovate and improve the sustainability of farming enterprises, you can help shape the future of agriculture.
The International Day of Women and Girls in Science is a time to celebrate and recognize the important role that women and girls play in science and technology. Agriculture is a perfect example of where women can make a real difference. We've highlighted just a few of the many career opportunities available for scientifically-minded girls and women, and the bright future of this field.
Summer Land Camels is all about innovation, and we’ve achieved some amazing things across our business… and one of the best parts? We employ and work with a lot of women, who do an amazing job, day in and day out. So, we’re always excited to celebrate the contributions of women in science and agriculture.
Come out and learn more about what we do at Summer Land Camels and meet some of the amazing women by booking a Farm Tour & Taste, Camel Ride or a Cameleer Experience. We also offer school excursions- so tell your teacher to get in touch today!