RSA program unearths new farming ideas

Roger TyshingRURAL Skills Australia’s six-day Discover Agriculture program will seek to inspire young Tasmanians to approach new ways of farming.  Story in The Examiner

The program accepts applicants from a broad range of backgrounds with the aim of exposing them to a series of Tasmanian agricultural experiences.

The latest program round will run from Sunday, August 31, to Friday, September 5, and includes on-site tours of research facilities, academic institutions and private operations.

Rural Skills Australia’s Roger Tyshing said sites included the Elliott research farm and TasTAFE, at Burnie, as well as the Cradle Coast university campus on the North-West.

Mr Tyshing said participants would also be taken to a series of enterprises such as the Roberts Woolstore at Western Junction and the Powranna saleyards.

“We want to do a farm tour where we’re showing them everything they think they know,” he said.

“Our attendance is about 50-50, with kids from rural and urban backgrounds.

“We want to really challenge the kids with a rural background . . . it’s great for kids with an urban background, who can have their eyes opened to agriculture.”

The Discover Agriculture program has been running annually since 2008 and includes an information panel of past participants, who share their journeys with the students.

“We’ve got a young lady who did the very first one, we try and get different ones every year. There are some good stories,” Mr Tyshing said.

“Quite a lot of participants go on to work in agriculture, a lot of the girls, they’ll go to the big stations at places like the Northern Territory or Northern Queensland as jillaroos.

“Once they have a bit of experience from there, they’ll go on to ag college or university.”