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Joel Faulkner wants to lead the agricultural industry into a new era of sustainability.

The work he’s doing for his Bachelor of Science (Conservation and Ecology) with Honours is setting him up to grow a much brighter future for New Zealand.

Originally from Tahunanui, Nelson, where his passion for protecting the environment first came about, Joel is focused on coming up with solutions for sustainable agriculture. This includes providing more benefits to farmers, while costing them less.

“I want to work in landscape management, encouraging bigger companies to use more dynamic systems,” he says. “Larger, wild spaces provide ecosystem services that we can get food from and it’s about harnessing a whole landscape rather than individual farms.

“I’m keen to move the industry in a more scientifically and environmentally responsible direction, as the current conventional model is inherently flawed.”

Joel has already begun achieving his goals, having worked at Plant & Food on an internship, and says he’s received good industry contacts from his supervisors.

“At Plant & Food, I investigated the insect pest, tomato-potato psyllid, and its imported bio-control agent, T. triozae.

“Lincoln has opened up a lot of opportunities for me and the small size means it’s easy to stay in contact with lecturers.”

In keeping with his environmental interests, he has also worked at the beautiful Christchurch Botanical Gardens during the summer.

Joel chose to come to Lincoln as it’s located out in the country, which is an environment he enjoys, and the programmes are more practical than those offered at many other universities.

“The practical side of the courses are a major benefit. There are some unique courses and great professors.

“I particularly enjoyed Sci 393, as it allows undergrads to get some first-hand field and experimental design experience and was one of the most beneficial classes I took.

“Staff have been excellent, as they’re always happy to assist and are genuinely interested in helping you.”

During his Honours degree, Joel has gained plenty of experience through professors and other faculty staff, which helped him decide what he wants to do in the future.

“I have realised that my main goal is to research agricultural methods that don’t destroy the environment for the sake of a company’s profit,” he says.