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Defence careers in food and agriculture

Defence careers in food and agriculture

Hungry for an exciting STEM role? Read on!

Defence careers in food and agriculture have a real-world impact. Imagine using food and nutrition science to make sure our military personnel perform at their peak. Or working to ensure the food security of Australia and other nations through scientific research, humanitarian aid or by defending our shipping and trade routes. Sounds pretty rewarding, right? 

You may not have even realised that Defence offers careers in food and agriculture, but if you’re interested in studying and working in fields like exercise and nutrition, food technology, civil engineering, chemistry or environmental science, plus you want a career that has a global impact and supports our national interests, then this career path might just satisfy that appetite.

Defence careers in food and agriculture roles

Catering officer: Ensure nutritional meals will sustain service personnel across all environments, including soldiers in operational zones. 

Food technologist: Use sports and military science to ensure ADF members get the nutrition they need to perform at their peak.

Environmental and agricultural scientist: Use cutting-edge tech like UAVs, satellites, spectral cameras and CubeSats to map and model plant growth, crop yields and other plant activity remotely.

Biofuel chemist: Explore the use of new biofuels. Could jets, ships and tanks run on fuel from algae or sugar cane? The US Navy has committed to getting 50% of its energy from alternate fuel sources. As an ally, DSTG is working to ensure our own platforms can operate on these fuels for joint exercises.

Civil engineer: Provide humanitarian aid during crises and make sure communities have access to essential services like water and electricity.

Career profile: maritime logistics chef

Royal Australian Navy Able Seaman Maritime Logistics Chef Zachary Galit holds a pork belly to be prepared in the galley of Royal Australian Navy Landing Helicopter Dock HMAS Canberra (L02) during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2022 in the Pacific Ocean. Royal Australian Navy Sailor Able Seaman Maritime Logistics Chef Zachary Galit supports the hundreds of crew and international military forces cooking onboard HMAS Canberra during Exercise Rim of the Pacific 2022.

Zachary is using his cooking skills to keep Navy personnel nourished – and collecting loads of qualifications along the way!

After finishing Year 12, Zachary was looking to gain a qualification as a commercial chef – and he got it, plus an extra qualification in fitness, by joining the Navy. Now, Zachary works as a maritime logistics chef, preparing and cooking food for the people on the ship. 

In his Navy career, Zachary has been on some really cool deployments, including the world’s biggest international maritime exercise: Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) in 2022. Conducted every second year off Hawaii, it includes naval war games at sea, a sports tournament and other events that allow sailors and officers from participating nations to build stronger relationships. Zach loved meeting sailors from other countries with the same job and seeing how they ran their kitchen, aka galley.

Start your career here

Defence + food + agriculture study

  • Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (CDF) (Civil), UNSW (ADFA) 
  • Bachelor of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences
  • Bachelor of Science (Environmental Science)
  • Bachelor of Science (Chemistry major)
  • Certificate IV in Human Nutrition

Defence + food + agriculture jobs

  • Army Catering Officer: $85,051*
  • Food Technologist: $78,653**
  • Army Civil Engineer: $90,629*
  • Navy Communications Operator: $73,253*
  • Environmental and Agricultural Scientist: $76,000**
  • Research Chemist: $74,293**

Source: Payscale, Indeed and
* Pay on completion of initial military training and initial employment training.
** Average base salary 

This article was first published in Careers with STEM: Defence 2023. For more on Defence careers, head to our STEM + Defence hub!

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