Humans of Agriculture

From the cold, blustery winters of Southbrook on Queensland’s Darling Downs to the vast expanse of country that is Western Australia’s beautiful Kimberley region, Emma Moss has seen agriculture from right across this big wide land.

Well known on Instagram for her handle @life_on_a_station, Emma has taken every opportunity to share her love for agriculture through her ever-evolving talent in photography.

“After finishing school in 2015 I took a job on Nerrima Station south of Derby in WA,” Emma said.

“The station cook was selling a camera. It wasn’t super flash so I would put it in the ute if we were blocking up cattle.

“If everything was quiet and settled my head stockman would let me jump off my horse and grab the camera to quickly snap some shots of the scene and it all escalated from there.”

Emma invested time googling photographic techniques and said her Instagram account grew very organically.

“There is very little documentation of life up here, it’s just so unknown and largely unheard of. To most people the Kimberley is just ‘somewhere up north.’”

Emma also spent time working on Pardoo Station, east of Port Hedland, where she experienced centre pivot irrigation and Wagyu beef grazing.

“That’s when I decided I wanted to go back to uni as I really wanted to work in the regenerative grazing space,” she said.

“I knew things could have been done differently at Pardoo- I didn’t have the answers but I wanted them.”

Whilst completing a bachelor of sustainable agriculture majoring in livestock production and a bachelor of ag science majoring in agronomy, Emma also worked as a station cook for a contract musterer and spent 12 months nannying for station families.

She said working in such a variety of roles within agriculture in northern Australia alerted her to the role that live export had in the Australian agricultural landscape.

“I was surprised at how animal welfare was prioritised given the way live export is often portrayed in the media,” she said.

“I arrived in WA thinking it might be some wild west sort of show but I quickly came to see the deeply human aspect that exists on these stations.”

“Many Kimberley stations are corporate owned but there are managers who’ve been on those stations for a number of years and care for it and the livestock like their own.”

“While at Nerrima my head stockwoman’s partner was running the live export yards and that really humanised the industry for me.”

“If a truck came in at 2am that meant he was unloading cattle at 2am- there’s a lot more dedication that goes on behind the scenes than people probably realise.”

“There’s also a really big sense of achievement in processing and loading, for example, two million dollars’ worth of steers for live export.”

Emma said she had goals to get back into public speaking about careers in agriculture.

“I receive quite a few enquiries through my Instagram page and I’d love for that to take off again post Covid,” she said.

“It’s really about shining some light on the industry and teaching young people ag is not the stereotype of a farmer sitting under a shady tree wearing plaid chewing a piece of straw- my photography has provided great leverage for that.”

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