FAREWELL: Gary Hatch (middle) with two of his mentors at the DPI, Mike Bell and Eric Gallagher.
FAREWELL: Gary Hatch (middle) with two of his mentors at the DPI, Mike Bell and Eric Gallagher. Katherine Morris

49 years of DPI research

GARY Harch's school principal did not think he'd be a good choice for the Kingaroy DPI to hire and almost 50 years later, Mr Hatch has proven his former teacher wrong.

Mr Harch started working at the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries in November 1967 in agriculture crop research under the guidance of his first mentor Eric Gallagher.

Mr Harch said he became interested in working in the agriculture sector after growing up on his family's Kingaroy farm.

He left high school at 16 to start work and has fond memories of the research and work he was able to do at the department for almost 50 years.

"I was lucky enough to get a position after high school as a cadet field assistant," Mr Hatch said.

For the first 13 years at the department Mr Harch worked with maize, sorghum, sunflowers, barley and navy beans.

Mr Harch worked with Mr Bell in crop improvement.

Mr Harch said his favourite part of working at the department was that it was always challenging.

"The work was always interesting, challenging and satisfying," Mr Harch said.

"The challenge of the experiments and the day to day contact with people, the satisfaction of getting results."

Mr Harch said he planned to do some travelling in his retirement, spend time with his children and grandchildren and spend more time at the coast.

"Going to keep fit and healthy, I'm not sure how it's going to work out, I might come back part-time, but it's certainty a life changing time for me," he said.

Mr Hatch got the DPI Australia Day Medal in 2009 which he said was a career highlight, being recognised for his work.

"Time goes so fast you think, where have the years gone?" Mr Harch said.

"I've met and worked with so many wonderful people over the years, but I basically worked with two people, Eric Gallagher and Mike Bell."

Both of Mr Harch's mentors were at the DPI last Friday for Mr Harch's going away event.

Mr Harch said working with corn and maize had been some of his most enjoyable research work, research that would help farmers get the best out of their crops.

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