Year 11 and 12 students from Cooktown State High School were given a first-hand look at the agricultural industry during a three-day Ag Inspirations event held in the Cooktown/Lakeland region.
Held in partnership with the AgForce School to Industry Partnership Program (SIPP), the TNQ Drought Hub, and Cape York NRM on April 17-19, 15 students visited six farming properties to learn about innovations in agri-business, the many career pathways and industry roles available, and possible work experience opportunities in the agricultural sector.
“It was a terrific three days, and the students were impressed with the variety of roles, jobs and innovation within the sector,” Cape York NRM Project Officer Sienna Thomason said.
“They looked at the theory and practicality of jobs, and were given an Ag Force handbook to work through and guide them.”
At the family-owned Lily Creek farm, students learned about the six different fruit crops being harvested, including Dragonfruit, Rambutans, Jackfruit and Passionfruit. The farm has been solar-powered for the past 15 years and electric vehicles are used in production.
“This is a great example of innovation in agriculture,” Tanya Nagle, AgForce General Manager — Media and Community Engagement, said. “The students learned about the growing and harvesting techniques and even got to taste test this delicious produce.
“It was the same at Ninda Creek Cattle property, where the owners have actually designed and created a lot of the equipment to use on and off the property.”
The field trip also took in the 3000 ha Mt McLean Cattle Station, Swiss Farms Banana Farm, and M&M Cropping which grows maize, sorghum, soybeans, sunflowers, lablab stylos and butterfly peas.
Students were given a behind-the-scenes look at the Lakeland Mushroom Farm which grows six different types of exotic mushrooms.
“This was an incredible example of the extent of technology used in agriculture these days and was a real eye-opener for the students,” Tanya said.
The Ag Inspirations tour focuses on the student and their talents, potential and aspirations, provides a look behind the scenes at the business side of an operation, and gives an employer-led discussion about how careers unfold.
“From an industry perspective, it also exposes young people to the range and diversity of careers within the agriculture supply chain, lifts the image of the industry and sparks more interest in and demand for ag-related traineeships,” Tanya said.
This event was supported by Cape York NRM, AgForce and the TNQ Drought Hub through funding from the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund