Buzz-iness success awaits for Gatton graduate

12 Dec 2016
Agribusiness Committee

Agribusiness graduand Jacob Stevens has been a busy bee over the past three years, completing his University of Queensland degree while running a significant beekeeping enterprise, hauling hives long distances via big rigs and breeding mohair goats.

At the same time Jacob has been the president of the student UQ Agribusiness Association and working with his committee to cultivate professional networks with over 80 businesses to help find jobs for his student colleagues.

After an action-packed few years, Jacob, who hails from Wheatvale, west of Warwick, has graduated with a Bachelor of Agribusiness degree at UQ Gatton this month in a cohort of 23 Agribusiness and Agribusiness dual program students.

Jacob’s alma mater, The University of Queensland, is one of Australia’s leading teaching and research universities, and continues to excel by ranking in the top 20 universities globally in agricultural sciences, as evidenced in major rankings including the 2016 National Taiwan University ranking (NTU) (7), QS 2016 subject rankings (17), the Academic Ranking of World Universities 2016 (20), and University Ranking by Academic Performance (12).

Judging Royal Adelaide Show

“We have for many years been the No 1 Australian agriculture university in the NTU ranking, and typically No 1, 2 or 3 in others,” Head of the School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, Professor Neal Menzies said.

“The Deans of Agriculture have recently undertaken an analysis of graduate employment destinations. 

“About half of our graduates end up in rural-based positions, with the other half taking positions in the city. 

“In effect, our programs are servicing the broad spectrum of industries that support agriculture in the state.”

Jacob said the 2016 cohort of UQ agribusiness graduands was likely to have a great employment rate.

“This includes around eight students who have secured work as banking junior analysts and assistant managers, plus graduands returning to family businesses,” Jacob said.

“There are also exciting export opportunities following the opening of the Wellcamp Airport at Toowoomba.”

Jacob is a fourth generation beekeeper in the family’s highly-regarded Condamine Apiaries.

As a side interest Jacob also is developing a mohair production business after being gifted a few goats a few years ago, on property he leases less than 10km from home.

“I’ve built the herd up to more than 100 goats, which I hope to double and quadruple in the next few years, conditions willing,” he said.

 Jacob applied to study at UQ as the Agribusiness program and his learnings have already been successfully applied to the family beekeeping business.

“I have an inquisitive nature and I’m always looking at better ways to do things, which this program has helped me with,” he said.

“My family has always stressed that it’s important to take a break from the business, go away and get that piece of paper so you have something else to fall back on.”

Jacob’s advice for people considering studying Agribusiness is to “keep an open mind about things.”

“Have a critical eye and evaluate before you make a judgement.  Look at the big picture and work backwards from this to address individual items.”

After graduation he plans to continue his busy schedule, which includes operating two businesses, agripolitics and judging goats at major national agricultural shows.

To learn more about studying agribusiness at UQ, visit:

Media: Jacob Stevens,, 0429 696 842.