She might be young, but Moree agronomist Casey Onus has proven she's among the best in her field after being named Agronomist of the Year at the 2019 Australian Summer Grains Conference on Wednesday.
The 26-year-old B&W Rural agronomist beat out experienced agronomists from around the country, including fellow Moree agronomist Tony Lockrey who was named runner-up, to win the Zoe McInnes Memorial Award which recognises outstanding contribution to agronomic excellence by an agronomist.
"I was very surprised," Casey said of the win.
"I didn't think I was in with a chance. I didn't think I'd been in the industry long enough to make an impact."
Casey has been a full-time agronomist since 2014, after graduating with a Bachelor of Agriculture at the University of New England.
READ MORE: Casey a home-grown success story
She started her career with Landmark and is currently with B&W Rural in Moree, where she continues to have a significant influence on the grains industry, contributing to research into plant nutrition and practices involving new technology to enhance outcomes for farmers in the North West.
Casey is particularly passionate about including precision agriculture into her everyday work.
"I'm tying in precision ag technology in day-to-day agronomy without making it complicated and using what farmers already have on farm," she said.
"We're currently missing the link between agronomy and precision ag providers, so we're trying to do that ourselves."
Casey is currently the co-chair of the Moree Young Aggies and regularly contributes to industry forums. She is also a member of the Grains Research and Development Corporation update planning committee.
In 2016 she was the youngest ever finalist in the ADAMA Young Agronomist of the Year Award and her leadership in the industry has flourished ever since.
This recent accolade is "definitely" the biggest recognition she's received in her career so far.
"To be a finalist in the Young Agronomist of the Year award was a big achievement at the time, but this is open to young and old, so there's a few more people to choose from," she said.
"I think because I am such a young agronomist, it's feedback that I am on the right track to delivering real value to my clients and giving back to the industry in a positive way."
Growing up, Casey had always wanted to follow in her father's footsteps and become an agronomist. She said her love for agronomy began growing up on her father's paddock in Moree where she earnt lollies for correctly identifying weeds.
"Dad used to make us guess weeds as kids," she said.
"We didn't always get lollies though," she laughed.
Casey was among about 500 growers, agronomists, researchers, marketers and national and international customers who attended the 2019 Australian Summer Grains Conference, held at the Gold Coast from Monday, July 8 to Wednesday, July 10.
The celebration dinner on Wednesday night was the final event of the three-day conference, which Casey said was "excellent".
There was a lot of information and a lot of research, and areas where more research is needed, that was presented," she said.