About Me

Mary O’Brien is a passionate advocate for agriculture. Being raised on the land, she understands the diverse challenges faced by the rural sector.  Since 1992, Mary has lived in the Darling Downs region of Queensland, where she has gained an in-depth knowledge of the local farming systems and built extensive networks throughout the Australian agricultural sector.

In previous roles, Mary has worked in chemical use and best practice across most regions of Queensland and New South Wales and with a range of agricultural industries. These include row cropping, horticulture, intensive animals, grazing, apiaries, viticulture, and aquaculture.

Mary now works as a private consultant conducting spray application and drift management workshops around Australia. Mary is also a myBMP (Cotton Best Management Practices) accredited advisor.

Mary is passionate about sustainable agriculture, in particular the protection of long term access to key products.  Spray drift, application risk management, chemical use best practice and simplifying record keeping are Mary’s particular areas of interest.  To this end she conducts workshops in spray drift risk management, assists clients with record keeping and legislative compliance, promotes chemical use best practice, and is a strong advocate for all sectors of agriculture.

Mary has an exceptional ability to communicate with farmers and spray contractors, and has highly developed negotiation and conflict resolution skills. Her straightforward approach and legislative knowledge, affords her the capacity to explain technical information in a simple manner and provide practical strategies to assist growers and contractors to get the job done while protecting their long term viability.

Mary is also the Founder, Director and CEO of a rural men’s mental health initiative called ‘Are You Bogged Mate?’  You can find out more at areyouboggedmate.com.au and follow her work in this space on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Previous Experience:

  • Biosecurity Queensland (Queensland Department of Primary Industries) – Senior Scientist and specialist in the regulation of agricultural and veterinary chemicals across a variety of industries.
    Key areas of expertise – investigation of spray drift (off-target damage), residues in agricultural products, chemical licensing, spray record keeping, education and awareness of chemical use best practice.
    Mary has a detailed knowledge of Queensland legislation relating to chemical use and a working knowledge of the equivalent New South Wales legislation.
  • Bill Gordon Consulting – assisting with the delivery of workshops in spray application technology and drift management.
  • ChemCert Australia – delivery of chemical user accreditation training in Queensland and New South Wales.

Formal Education:

  • Master of Agriculture, University of New England
  • Post Graduate Certificate in Rural Science, University of New England
  • Bachelor of Science (Plant Science), University of Southern Queensland
  • Certificate IV Training and Assessment (TAE)