Farming is one of our foundational industries but many might not be aware of how technology driven it has become and teachers from southern Queensland and northern NSW have are being encouraged to see what’s happening for themselves.
Applications are now being sought for the Teacher Farm Experience Program (TeacherFX), an initiative allowing primary and high school teachers to discover first-hand the advancements in ag technology and sustainable production.
What they learn can then be translated into the classroom where food and fibre production techniques can be incorporated into STEAM and digital technology curriculums.
Held on the Darling Downs and Lockyer Valley, the two-day professional development program will be held on Monday, March 30 to Tuesday March 31 2020, at no cost to participating teachers.
From a horticultural farm and packing shed tour at Rugby Farm through to a dairy farm and milking shed tour at Arabella Farming, the tour will showcase the diversity of local production, and provide insights only possible through first-hand experience.
A cotton farm tour and machinery display at Glen Royal Farms and dinner at the historic Adora Downs is also on the agenda, ending with overnight farm stay experience with local families.
Day two of the program will focus on interactive classroom sessions including topics such as growing cotton in the 21st century, insights into the poultry industry plus an agricultural careers and education panel.
CQUni has developed innovative and interactive resources for teachers to take back to the classroom and an evaluation framework to determine its success.
The Queensland program is part of the roll out of the wider national TeacherFX initiative, spearheaded by agribusiness banking specialist, Rabobank, to help bridge the urban-rural divide. It is a joint initiative developed by Rabobank’s Client Councils (groups of the bank’s farming clients who meet to discuss issues and implement initiatives to contribute to the sustainability of rural communities) and CQUniversity Australia (CQUni).
TeacherFX was piloted in 2018 successfully and programs have run in Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Victoria. This will be the first TeacherFX program to run in Queensland.
Program organiser and Rabobank Queensland and Northern New South Wales Client Council member Georgie Krieg said the TeacherFX program provided an effective platform to showcase the many career opportunities in agriculture.
“TeacherFX has proven an extremely effective tool in showcasing all the career opportunities available in the agricultural industry using STEM skills and we’re really excited to be hosting the program here on the Darling Downs,” she said.
CQUni Research Fellow in Agri-tech Education and Extension, Dr Amy Cosby was pleased to be bringing the program to Queensland.
Dr Cosby said research also found prior to attending TeacherFX, 30 per cent of teachers didn’t incorporate any food and fibre into their teaching programs.
After completing the program, 98 per cent said they would now encourage students to consider a career in agriculture.
Registrations close 16 March 2020.