After completing a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Hons) in 1999 at The University of Melbourne, Cassie was employed by the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI), Victoria as a research scientist in soil chemistry. Cassie specialised in soil chemistry and soil-plant interactions, completing a GRDC-funded PhD with Monash University on the interactions between carbon and fertilisers in improving nutrient availability in acid soils. Further research was conducted on understanding how nutrients and soil interact using synchrotron techniques, identifying mechanisms to improve nutrient supply, and determining the impact of source and process on the quality of organic amendments.
In 2014 Cassie left DEPI to establish ‘Schefe Consulting’, and to continue working with farmers through part-time employment with Riverine Plains Inc. Within ‘Schefe Consulting’ Cassie has partnered with a range of fertiliser and mining companies to develop and field test new fertiliser products, conducted synchrotron research with the University of New England and Southern Cross University, supervised PhD students at Monash and Melbourne University, worked with councils and water authorities to manage waste products, advised corporate farming entities on the management of soil constraints, and established an industry program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in cropping, in partnership with Mars Petcare and the Sustainable Food Lab, USA.
Within Riverine Plains Inc, Cassie has managed and delivered multi-million dollar research projects funded by the GRDC and Federal Dept Agriculture. Partnerships with several universities have been developed, encompassing precision agriculture programs (University of Sydney), Internet of Things (IoT) applications in agriculture (University of Melbourne), and the application of spatial data to predict in-paddock variation in plant-available water (Federation University). Cassie is responsible for developing new project concepts and capturing funding opportunities, manages delivery of all research projects, and is responsible for stakeholder engagement.
Cassie has authored 16 scientific journal papers and numerous conference proceedings and is accredited as a Certified Professional Soil Scientist (CPSS) by Soil Science Australia.