Meet Melinda Perkins who leverages the power in AgTech in her everyday job and is connected to our Queensland Smart Farms network.
Queensland Smart Farms are a network of farms and industry learning centres dedicated to advancing Australia’s agriculture and food industries through AgTech innovation.
Melinda discusses how protected cropping is expanding, what it’s like to work in the sustainable production of healthy, high-yielding vegetable crops and working with growers to solve problems.
“Protected cropping in Australia is expanding at a phenomenal rate. It’s exciting to be at the forefront of the research and development that supports it,” Melinda says.
“In my role, I support the sustainable production of healthy, high-yielding fruit and vegetable crops in structures such as polytunnels, greenhouses and glasshouses, under hail and shade netting, and in controlled environment facilities such as vertical farms.”
“My average day might be spent visiting a protected cropping grower to discuss their needs and challenges, working with our protected cropping team on crop demonstration trials in our retractable-roof research greenhouse, or hosting a training event to share knowledge and skills with industry.”
Melinda loves the variety of her job.
“I love that my work involves a mix of activities—from desk-top research and analysis, to the physical outdoor work involved in planting trials, to networking with people,” Melinda said.
“Plants are my passion, but this isn’t something I realised until after I graduated university with a PhD in food science.”
“Transitioning to horticulture was a steep learning curve, but worth it.
“A technical role to optimise breeding and production of native plants for the ornamentals industry soon became a research role.”
Melinda has spent 18 years in horticulture research, working with many innovative growers and scientists to solve issues relating to new crop development, postharvest fruit quality and market access of fruit and vegetables.
“I’m proud to be part of vibrant teams that have developed practical solutions to industry problems, like improving avocado quality through better plant nutrition and postharvest handling.”
Learn more about Queensland Smart Farms.
Meet Quentin Feery-Lawrence Technology Solutions Architect for the Central Queensland Smart Cropping Centre .