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Olivia Borden

Creation date: 19 November 2021

Introducing Olivia Borden


Olivia Borden grew up on the flat, open wheat and barley paddocks of the Wimmera Mallee, but today she is excited to be on the front line of agricultural development in the far north of Australia. As an agronomist based in Katherine, she feels a deep connection with and passion for the top end and is motivated by the possibility of being part of something bigger than herself.


As part of her shortlisted LEAD scholarship application Olivia looked at supporting the development of locally grown leaders that will bring about positive change and sustainability to regional communities.


Here is some of what she said.


Under the 40-degree humid Territory sun, “Innovators in Agriculture” embroidered above my top pocket, I inspect a cotton plants root system, seeking to answer an Agronomic question. My boss’s words ring loudly in my mind. “The answer is usually something simple.”


The largest limitations for the progression of the Agricultural industry are not lack of technology, water, land use management, trade or market access. The greatest limitation of the Australian Ag industry is our country’s divided, individual motivations and purpose, which separates our visions and beliefs.


The Agricultural industry is only as strong as its community support. Unified culture that promotes a strong collaborated vision will provide opportunity for the largest increase in Australian Agriculture production. Australia is a country built on character. In order for the Agricultural industry to increase growth, we need to create a story that captures that character and cultivates a personal meaning in the heart of every Aussie; a united purpose, vision and belief, that will team up everyday Australians with food and fibre industries. The effects of Covid 19 is raw in Australian households, the big questions are being asked, “how do we as a country become more sustainable, stronger, more resilient, more capable?”


There is no better time for the Agricultural industry to address these important conversations. It is up to our industry leaders, from the Prime Minister through to the local agronomist to create a united vison that will be deeply imbedded in the hearts of all Australians which will help revolutionise Australia and our Agricultural industry.


I advise key players in the Ag industry to lead with strong values and to get public about them. The Consumer needs to know how and where the sustainably produced food and fibre they eat and wear daily was grown. Every person is responsible to tell the “new” story of Australian agriculture, to tell the public of how we have transformed, how farmers are committed to environmental sustainability, sustainable businesses which therefore sustains our people. We need to add to our story, that agriculture is the key to improving the health of our nation. Our farmers provide and grow whole foods, while providing employment opportunities that gives people purpose. Agriculture can and should be the shining example of the triple bottom line. Sustainable business that improves the health and social wellbeing of our local communities. Sustainable investment in the environment, in which we grow and provide the food for our nation and for many nations across the globe. It is every persons responsibility to share our story and it is every persons responsibility to know our story. If we don’t tell the story then other people will, the activists the single lobbyists and their story won’t be based on facts and truth. Leaders create more leaders, passion is powerful, who greater to tell the story then the key groups of players in the Ag industry right down through to the farming families in local communities.


A plant is only as strong as its roots. If I was the leader of our great country I would start by “watering” – connecting Australians, back to our roots. It’s up the government to take care of the sustainability of our country’s resources, so I would focus on ensuring development is carried out with the highest level of best practices. I would unite the leading environmental and agricultural scientists in the country to work together forming a strong, efficient, leading team. I would implement sensible government policy, listening to politicians that only respond to facts based on science and data. I would also ensure that all graduates know of the exciting careers available in agriculture and the difference they could make in our world.


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