26 November, 2022
Peta Bradley, MLA
Peta is the manager of sheep genetics, within the livestock genetics team at Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA).
The sheep genetics
unit is responsible for delivering the national
genetic evaluation to the sheep industry, meaning
“I get to work alongside some of the leading edge
sheep producers in the country as well as
world-leading scientists operating in this space”.
Making sure we have the right people in the
right roles is something Peta believes is important
to the success of any team of business. As
Australia enters a new time for agriculture, there
a many women taking on roles in the industry,
including senior roles like Peta.
“There are lots of great role models and mentors
out there from both genders. Surround yourself
with a good team and mentors and the world
is your oyster!”
There’s no such thing as a ‘normal’ day for
Peta, which is one of the things she loves about
“Every day is different! You can be doing
anything from being in the office, to travelling to
present, or working alongside sheep breeders
and scientists,” she said.
But a ‘normal office day’ for Peta starts with
her heading to the MLA office in Armidale,
where she is greeted by about 25 other staff
members. Peta says that MLA have multiple
offices around the world, with about 260 people
employed from producer facing roles to IT and
“Our marketing team is responsible for the
Australia Day lamb ad every year that you might
see – this is aimed at getting more people to buy
But once in the office, Peta starts the day by
checking emails to see if anything urgent has
“I want to make sure that if there are any
things that need to be looked at straight away,
the team are able to work on these as a priority.
“I then go into my first meeting of the day.
Each day we meet for a short, 10 minute meeting,
with an IT development company based in
Sydney that is working on our new database systems.
Who knew after studying ag I would be
working so much with computers and code! But
ag is becoming such a data driven industry. It
has been an important project to be part of.”
From here, Peta will meet with the sheep
genetics team. There are seven others in the
team, so she says that teamwork is such an
important skill in her job, as with any job.
“We are discussing upcoming travel, speaking
engagements and training. Some of the
things we are planning at the moment include
delivering training packages to sheep breeders to
use specialised software, software development
sessions, forums working with producers, online
webinars we are delivering, and committee
But the day doesn’t stop there. In the afternoon,
Peta often finds herself meeting with
research scientists from the University of New
England (UNE). These scientists work in livestock
genetics, and Peta says they are “some of
the brightest minds in this field from anywhere
in the world”.
“Part of our role at sheep genetics is to
understand the science they work on and be able
to ‘translate’ it into practical on-farm messages
from sheep breeders.”
That’s just one day in the life of Peta. Since
high school Peta knew she was interested in
agriculture, particularly in livestock production.
By the end of year 10 she found her love for
genetics, but also from her involvement at her
family’s farm in Armatree.
“After some research I found that the UNE in
Armidale was a hub for livestock genetics; I set
my sights on studying here. After year 12 I went
straight to UNE to study a bachelor of rural science,”
Throughout her degree, Peta gained an understanding and appreciation for all farming systems and how they integrate, as well as expanding her love of genetics.
In her final year,
she began an honours project which looked into
genetic parameter for reproduction trails in
“This led to my first role within MLA as the
development officer within the sheep genetics
“Since then, I have had a range of roles within
the genetics team including project management
through to my current role as sheep genetics
Peta finds her job immensely rewarding.
Being able to develop tangible outcomes to the
sheep industry is something she is passionate
about, and she can see the significant impacts it
has on farming businesses.
"The sheep industry has made a lot of genetic
progress over a long period of time,” said
“We are now entering an era where exciting
new technologies like DNA testing means we
can make progress faster than ever before!
Being able to combine my love of farming with
my passion of science is very unique opportunity.
Also being able to be part of a team that is
passionate about what they do and to see team
members succeed in their roles, is a very gratifying
“You don’t have to be from a farm to have a
career in agriculture.”
That is something Peta
wants to express. She says there are many ways
to be involved in ag, both behind and beyond,
“Within our company we have people from
IT to marketing to people with agricultural science
backgrounds – the thing we all have in
common? We all work in ag! There are more
jobs than people in agriculture at the moment so
there is ample opportunity for anyone thinking
of heading down this path.”
For young women considering a career in the industry, her best piece of advice is to “take all the opportunities that come your way”.