From growing fruit to assessing the condition score of sheep, South West school students have had a taste of farm life and the science behind it at the South West Foodbowl Agricultural Awareness Day.
The biennial event at Nannup attracted about 800 students, providing a unique glimpse into different aspects of the agriculture industry, and giving participants a hands-on experience.
Students visited a working beef cattle farm to learn about genetics and cattle pregnancy testing; a fruit orchard to see what is involved in producing a single piece of fruit; a factory specialising in cheese made from sheep’s milk and a free-range chicken farm to view chicken farming and egg production systems.
The event ran on 13 and 14 October, with students from Balingup, Bunbury, Busselton, Dunsborough, Manjimup, Pemberton, Nannup and Northcliffe involved.
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) had officers on hand to talk about the science behind agricultural production and career opportunities available in the sector.
“The local farming community have driven this fantastic initiative for many years and we are proud to support this event,” DPIRD Manjimup research station manager Ian Guthridge said.
“DPIRD officers gave an overview of the importance of pasture management and nutrition, how to check sheep flock condition and what’s involved in aquaculture, highlighting a unique marron and trout production program.
“As part of the event, we implemented measures to protect properties against pests, weeds and diseases, which also provided an opportunity for the students to learn about the importance of biosecurity.”
Students also got to see what good soil health does to a pair of undies, what fly pupae looks like under a microscope and learn about amazing new and emerging agricultural careers.
South West FoodBowl Chairperson Barbara Dunnet said with increasing world population and global demand for Australian products, farmers needed to grow more food and fibre, which would continue to support local jobs and business opportunities for many people in the community.
“It is important for our children, the next generation, to see agriculture as a career choice,” Mrs Dunnet said.
“Events such as the South West FoodBowl provide a fantastic and effective avenue for young people to learn that agriculture is an exciting, innovative, and dynamic industry.”
Jodie Thomson/Megan Broad, media liaison (08) 9368 3937