Richard Dickmann grew up in rural Victoria, near Simpson in Southern Victoria. From his roots on a dairy farm, he now works at Bayer CropScience Australia as the Head of New Business Development.
He has his dream job, which delivers real value to Australian farmers and communities. From his dairy farm he has now lived in six countries: France, Singapore, Japan, China, Germany, and back to Australia.
"I grew up on a farm, and worked with my parents. The starting point of my career was my love of agriculture. I learned many life lessons while milking cows!
Farming teaches you that while you must plan and prepare for the future, it is never certain. You need to handle the bumps (like no rain), but be ready to ‘make hay’ when the rain falls, and the sun shines."
"I went to University and studied forestry. However, I was drawn back to Agriculture, which is more immediate; you see the results of your work every year, rather than every 30 years. A lady I met (and later married) moved to France, and, somehow, I asked for a job with the same company. Crazily, I got it.
For the next 26 years, we moved to 6 countries, working in Agriculture all around the world. I worked in France, Singapore, Japan, China, Germany, and… back in Melbourne. We travelled 100,000km, to end up just 200 km away from Simpson and back in Melbourne!"
Working at Bayer CropScience Australia:
"Today, I am responsible for searching for new technologies for Bayer, and defining our Sustainability policy. It really is my dream job, as I get to use the experience I built up overseas for the benefit of Australian Agriculture, farmers, and communities.
I am passionate about Australian agriculture: the land, the people that farm it, and their customers. We have a great future, feeding ourselves and our neighbours."
Growing up in Simpson:
"My favourite memories about living in Simpson stem from the bond between people within the community. There is a great balance of independence, but also being part of a community that is ready to help each other.
This is not the case in the city, where people live more isolate lives. The great thing in the country is that people are willing to help you; all you have to do is ask!"
"The biggest challenges for rural youth are similar to those faced by youth everywhere, but amplified. The biggest challenge young people have is in getting a clear view of their options and the career paths that are available.
All I can suggest is to take full advantage of career advice services, and any people you know that can show you how things are done. Don’t be afraid to ‘lend a hand’ to someone, as you will always learn something.
We all know that rural kids are generally not afraid to travel long distances. Look in every direction for job opportunities. Mobility greatly increases you career options. I moved all around the world!
In my company, I work with a lot of people from rural areas, which I really love. Rural people are down to earth, and are not afraid to ‘get the job done’, by working and cooperating with others. You can use this to your advantage in your job search; people know how hard-working rural people are."
Richard has some key messages:
1. You build your career, one little step at a time.
2. Always be ready to take opportunities when they come, and don’t hesitate to take a chance, no matter where or when. ‘Just do it’; you will always learn something.
3. Always ask the question; if you don’t ask, you won’t get.