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Teacher Farm Tour

31/08/2016

​AgForce, Rabobank and Queensland Agriculture Workforce Network have joined forces to deliver a Tour which promotes local agriculture industries to local high School teachers.  On Friday 26 August 2016, approximately 20 teachers from Home Hill High School and Ayr State High School undertook a tour of Pacific Reef Fisheries and Ryan Jones cattle & cane property.  The aim of the tour was to strengthen collaborative partnerships and to ensure that teachers are aware of local agricultural industries and the opportunities available for students. 

The tour began by visiting the 98ha Pacific Reef Fisheries Farm which produces prawn and cobia to domestic markets.  It was interesting to learn about the environmental regulations on the farm and water quality measures in place.  Mr John Maloney discussed the current expansion of the operation in Guthalungra and the opportunities for local people and linkages to school students.  From there the teachers travelled to Ryan Jones cattle & cane property in Jarvisfield.  Ryan spoke about his operation and how he has utilised the things he learnt during high school in his business today.  The night finished up with a BBQ on the property with plenty of discussion and ideas about how to continue to promote the industry. 

The tour demonstrated the diversity of the industry and its relevance in a wide range of subject areas and was of particular relevance to teachers who are new to the region, as they learned about the size and breadth of the industry.  Education about the agriculture industry amongst teachers will lead to greater promotion and acceptance of the industry amongst young people and an interest and uptake in work experience and future agricultural study opportunities.  If teachers are aware of the industry and the opportunities available, they will be able make students aware and provide guidance and assistance. 

Over the past 10 years, the number of students enrolled in agricultural courses at the university level has dropped significantly, however with the recent advances in technology and science; professional and technic al staff are in short supply.  Agricultural science graduates, for example, are in high demand with many of these roles located in capital cities.  The industry can provide opportunities far beyond farm hand positions. Modern agricultural businesses require highly trained business managers, technical officers and agronomists just to name a few. 

The Rabobank Client Council Ayr branch have facilitated the teacher tour for second year in a row.  The Client Council is made up of local producers who are passionate about a range of issues within their industry including the promotion of careers in agriculture and have been the driving force behind the initiative.  AgForce provided funding for the tour and Queensland Agriculture Workforce Network and local schools also supported the program. 

 

Bianca Fullarton

Agriculture Workforce Officer

Queensland Agriculture Workforce Network

Workforce@bowengumlugrowers.com.au