National Agriculture Day offers chance to spruik sector | Editorial November 20, 2017

Agriculture has so many remarkable success stories and we need to keep talking positively about our sector – to our customers, to each other, to the world, and to the young people who have the power to shape the future of our sector.

Michael Beer.

Michael Beer.

For customers, giving them the information they need and being open and genuine about food safety, food security, provenance and traceability is so important. For the next generation, exposure through education is critical.

Agricultural education, particularly in primary school, is one thing I’m passionate about. Perhaps it comes from having been surrounded by agriculture education from a young age myself – I quite literally grew up amongst the students and lecturers at what was then known as Wagga Wagga Agricultural College – and being married to a primary school teacher means the importance of early education is hammered home to me.

I see a natural fit for school primary students to be learning about agriculture at the same time as they learn about food and clothes. If we’re savvy about it, agriculture can be integrated into so many other subject areas too, especially science and engineering. It’s up to us in the sector to make sure we connect with children in a way that makes it exciting.

I also see education as one of our best opportunities to increase agriculture sector diversity for the future. By getting young audiences engaged about agriculture we will naturally bring in new people and new perspectives, all of which will help shape our industry for the better. By sparking passion in young people for this sector, we will help secure its future.

Alongside our outreach to young people and school students, communication within the sector and collaboration is changing as the next generation of agriculture leaders come through. Technology absolutely has a role to play in this; it provides tools that make online collaboration and information sharing easier than ever. Social media has also broken down some of the isolation and geographic barriers that used to go hand in hand with working in agriculture.

On National Agriculture Day (November 21), was a chance for all to come together to acknowledge that we’re doing a fantastic job and working towards the same outcome – feeding and clothing the world. The future for agriculture is bright and #AgDay was our day to let everyone know about it.

- MICHAEL BEER, AgriFutures