Supporting the Next Generation in Sustainable Agriculture

The future of farming in the Northern Agricultural Region is in good hands.

That conclusion is based on the 25 students from the Western Australian College of Agriculture in Morawa who NACC recently supported on a field trip to the Avon Valley to learn more about the diversity of working in the agricultural industry.

During the tour the students explored a range of different fields of agriculture and investigated how agriculture is influenced by, and can influence, the environment.

One of the aspects covered was plant breeding – delivered by Australian Grain Technologies (AGT), a large wheat and lupin breeding firm.

One of the challenges plant breeders face, the students were told, is finding genetics that are able to grow in a changing climate while also meeting all the end-user’s demands.

The day continued with a visit to the Muresk Institute to experience university life and check-out the courses on offer. The students also got a chance to look at the use of drones and other new technology in the agricultural industry.

Two of the Year 10 students – Jack and Kye – took to the controls and manoeuvred their drone around the football oval in a race against other schools. Drones are being explored as options for moving stock, checking for pests and possibly controlling pests in a more sustainable way.

Low-stress stock handling was also looked into, with students getting tips on using sheep dogs, and moving sheep through yards in a quiet, humane way.

Western Australian College of Agriculture teacher Nadine Hollamby said: “The trip has opened the students’ eyes to more possibilities.”

NACC Sustainable Agriculture Coordinator Sally Fenner said: “It was great to work alongside the college in their efforts to continue to integrate sustainable agriculture into the education of their students, and to encourage a new generation to take up careers in this industry.”

This field trip was supported by NACC through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.

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