From a young age, Jack Courts always knew his future lay in the agriculture industry having loved growing up on his family’s 45,000-acre station in northern New South Wales. Now, in his third year studying the Bachelor of Business (Agriculture), Jack’s ambition has started to take shape.
Here we chat with our 2018 Student President about what drew him to a career in agriculture and where he hopes to be in the future.
Tell us a little about your background Jack and what you were up to prior to studying at Marcus Oldham.
I was lucky enough to be immersed in the agriculture industry from a young age. My parents had a property 160 kilometres north of Bourke in New South Wales and that’s where I spent most of my childhood. It was a 45,000-acre cattle, sheep and goat station and a Santa Gertrudis cattle stud.
I was homeschooled up until year 6 and then I headed off to St Joseph’s College, a boarding school in Sydney. I loved my time at St Joseph’s, but I often found myself eager to get back to the family farm for school holidays. My dad always conveniently lined up shearing, lamb marking, crutching, goat mustering and cattle work during the holidays for us to help with! It was great getting to work alongside my two brothers, father and grandfather – three generations of Courts.
Once I had completed my HSC at St Joseph’s in 2013, I headed up to the Northern Territory to work at ‘Waterloo’ a 650,000-acre cattle station running 11,000 Brahman cattle. One year quickly turned into two, and it was while working at Waterloo completing my certificate III and IV in agriculture that my passion for the cattle industry really became evident.
Do you think having grown up on a farm and always being involved in agriculture is what drew you to a career in the industry?
I think a big part of my desire to work in the agriculture industry stems from having grown up on the land. But, it has been my time at Marcus Oldham and the exposure to the various sectors of the agriculture industry that has cemented my decision to pursue a career in this industry.
For my 2017 practical placement year, I worked near Wellington in New South Wales on a prime lamb and cropping property. This was something different to what I had previously done but was a great opportunity to gain experience in an industry I might not otherwise have had the chance to work in.
What led you to apply for the Bachelor of Business (Agriculture) at Marcus Oldham?
While working at Waterloo Station I soon realised I needed to further my education in agriculture if I was to one day manage a property. What Marcus Oldham had to offer was exactly what I was after and I had heard a lot about Marcus Oldham from its graduates and they had all highly recommended it.
Compared to other tertiary institutions, Marcus Oldham is in a field of its own, and I wanted to be a part of that.
You’re in your 3rd year of study here at Marcus Oldham, what would you say some of the highlights have been so far?
One of the biggest highlights this year was the Riverina Tour in Term 1. It was a week-long tour with the focus being irrigation. We got to see almond groves, cotton, olive, rice and corn under irrigation – all new industries I hadn’t experienced before. We also got to see a cotton gin and a couple of feedlots. The feedlots were a definite highlight.
I’ve also really enjoyed my year as the Student President here at Marcus Oldham. Not only have I been able to take on a leadership role within the student cohort, but I’ve been able to organise and host many social events. The Marcus Races was a standout. Steeped in tradition, this year we had one of the largest turnouts the College has seen in recent years and I really enjoyed welcoming friends of the College to the event and getting to meet like-minded people.
And the last highlight would be the third-year content we’re currently learning and the amount of depth we’re being taught. The practical and production-based knowledge is invaluable, and it is exciting to learn relevant content that I can see myself using long into the future.
You’ve mentioned your passion for the cattle industry, where do you see yourself in the future?
I have many goals for the future and it is hard to put a finger on where I might end up. My main passion is the livestock industry, so ultimately, I’d like to run a successful business within this industry through farm management. I’d like to gain a further wealth of knowledge and raise enough capital to purchase my own farm.
I’d also like to become an industry leader in the field I am working in, whether this is cattle, sheep or the goat industry, as well as be involved in my family’s Santa Gertrudis cattle stud.