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Careers in Ag @ BASF: Sarah Fusinato

Sarah Fusinato joined BASF as part of a Customer Service Officer in June 2020, but is now an Agency Reconciliation Analyst
Sarah Fusinato joined BASF as part of a Customer Service Officer in June 2020, but is now an Agency Reconciliation Analyst 

In conjunction with National Agriculture Day 2021 and in line with this year’s theme of Choose your #AgVenture, we at BASF caught up with four of our Ag colleagues to shed some light on their experiences in this broad field. For part two, we speak with Sarah Fusinato, who has been an Agency Reconciliation Analyst for BASF Agricultural Solutions since January 2021.

Contemplating a career in ag was a logical progression for Sarah, as she grew up at her parents’ dairy farm in Gippsland, Victoria. She shares, “Whilst I was growing up, I spent most of my spare time helping out my parents on the farm or following them around town, so I’ve always loved the ‘farm life’, so to speak! This was further reflected in my favourite school subjects, which were chemistry and food technology. However, truth be told, I didn’t really consider specialising in agriculture until I was about to complete secondary school. It was at that point that I realised that even if I decided to pursue a degree in a different field like science, I’d still pick agriculture-related topics to major in anyways – Agriculture it was then!”

Sarah continues, “I would consider my time in university a real eye-opener, as prior to starting at the University of Melbourne, I was only acutely familiar with the dairy industry. During my agriculture course, I learnt about so many aspects of farming, from aquaculture to sheep-shearing, along with the breadth of career opportunities that were available whether in journalism, sustainability, consulting, manufacturing and so much more. I can honestly say that the choices are endless”

Upon graduating, Sarah took six months off to work on the family farm and to travel overseas. Her first job was in a customer service role with milk processor, serving the Gippsland region, and it was a great opportunity to understand what happens to milk after it leaves a dairy farm, before it reaches the end customer. After a couple of years, she decided to branch out from the dairy industry and then found herself working with BASF in a very similar customer service role.

“I first joined BASF as a Customer Service Officer looking after the South region, which consists of Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia. On a normal day, I would spend most of my time attending and fulfilling customer orders from my allocated region, looking after stock dispatches and resolving any related tasks that may arise. After seven months in my starting role, there was an opportunity to take on a larger role as an Agency Reconciliations Analyst, which involved mapping BASF’s product stock movements with that of our customers to identify and resolve any discrepancies, managing product pricing as well as overseeing the CRM Salesforce and training,” she explains.

She continues with, “One thing that was certainly memorable for me was how I started at BASF in June 2020, when the COVID-19 lockdown was in full effect. I actually worked my first seven or so months entirely remotely, which meant that I experienced the entire onboarding and training process over Microsoft Teams. It’s a really an interesting and challenging new normal that we faced this past year and I’m really glad to have experienced a new way of learning, although I’m pretty sure that my colleagues who had to answer all my questions might feel differently.”

Sarah also shares  what she’s observed about the ag industry thus far, stating “You may call me slightly biased but I believe that farmers are an incredibly important component of our society. What motivates me about the work that I do with BASF is that we’re trying to help local farmers produce the highest quality food possible, especially given the variables that we can’t control such as the effect of weather or precipitation on yields. Having said that, I personally find it very interesting to see how the adoption of digitalisation and a renewed focus on sustainability is impacting the way farmers operate both now and in the future.”

When it comes to providing some guidance to young people interested in agriculture, Sarah suggests approaching their career with an open mind and not getting overwhelmed by the dizzying array of options available. “Just take your time to understand your respective field or discipline and don’t be too narrow-minded or you may just end up missing out on a lot of wonderful opportunities. At the end of the day, if you tried something and discovered it’s not for you then at least you then you learnt something. My sincere belief however, is that you’re more likely to discover a new passion or an unexpected calling whilst you embark on your very own agri-‘cultural’ journey!”