FOR one Granite Belt farmer, the land has been, and always will be, an important part of life.
Peter Broomhall, who owns a fig and blackberry farm at Amiens, has devoted his life to learning more in order to do his part for the production horticulture industry.
Mr Broomhall has more than 25 years' experience in production horticulture and holds a Bachelor of Science majoring in plant physiology, a Certificate IV in training and assessment and a diploma in agribusiness management, and qualifications in climate adaptation and resource management.
Mr Broomhall's formal studies are well supported by wide-ranging, hands-on industry experience, including his own consultancy business providing growers with irrigation and nutrition advice, and managing and developing his own small family farm near Stanthorpe with wife Paulette and their two children.
"I had been working as a consultant on the Granite Belt since 1991, and when we made the decision to have a tree change, we picked Stanthorpe.
"We bought the farm at Amiens in 2004 and moved in 2005/2006.
"It took a while to get established and a few years until the trees came into production."
He added that growing figs and blackberries was the same as running any other orchard.
When he is not working on his farm, Mr Broomhall can be found in Growcom's Toowoomba office.
"I guess you could say I understand both sides of the coin - I know what the expectations are for people who are trained and I understand how the training is done," he said.
Mr Broomhall is one of five new workforce development officers to be appointed to regional Queensland as a result of Queensland Production Horticulture Workforce Development Plan 2013-2015 developed for industry by Growcom.
Under the plan, Mr Broomhall will serve the Granite Belt and Southern Darling Downs regions to assist horticulture growers to address local workforce attraction, retention and upskilling issues.
Mr Broomhall will focus on the workforce development needs of industry within the Granite Belt and Southern Darling Downs farming districts, and will progressworkplace development initiatives associated with the new plan.
He said he main focus was on "attaining, retaining and upskilling for production horticulture".
"I am also looking to build better relationships between trainers and those working in the industry," he said.
"And I am looking to build a greater interest with young people who want to go into agricultural science by building better links with universities and also working at a high-school-based level.
"I'm really keen to assist growers to build opportunities that enhance their labour productivity and improve operational efficiencies and profitability."
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.