When I get the opportunity to join one of the Young Farming Champions on a school visit I grab it with relish
Last Friday saw AWI Wool Young Farming Champion Dione Howard visited Hurlstone Agricultural High School at Glenfield
The students kept her very busy. She spoke to the Year 11 and 12 agriculture classes, the year 11 Primary Industries class and the Year 10 art class
The students were totally engaged.
Dione gave the students as Careers Challenge. She shared her journey and the diversity of careers in Wool she had encountered along the way. Dione’s message was no matter what you are good at and what you love doing their is a career for you in Agriculture.
With 82% of careers in agriculture found beyond the farmgate the students had no trouble identifying the multitude of careers from field to fashion
Next up was a biosecurity challenge.
Biosecurity has played a critical role in reducing risk and shaping our nation to become one of the few countries in the world to remain free from the world’s most severe pests and diseases.
While our geographical isolation has played a key role in maintaining this status, our isolation as an island nation is rapidly changing as the barriers of time and distance become less relevant and international travel and trade increase.
With more than 60 000 kilometres of coastline offering a variety of pathways for exotic pests and diseases, the Australian Government screens, inspects and clears the millions of people, mail parcels, baggage, ships, animals, plants and cargo containers entering Australia every year using x–ray machines, surveillance, and, of course, the instantly recognisable detector dogs.
Without a strong biosecurity system, biodiversity will be further compromised resulting in degradation of our unique environment, access to fresh and safe food will be limited and our infrastructure threatened.
In NSW Agricultural production alone provides:
- $12 Billion NSW Primary Industries contribution to the economy
- 39,000 Agricultural businesses in NSW
- 42,000 Farms in NSW
- 66,000 People employed in NSW Agriculture Industry
- $8 billion value of NSW Agricultural exports
The Biosecurity Challenge
Foot and Mouth disease (FMD) is a highly contagious animal disease that would have severe consequences were it to be introduced into Australia. Hurlstone Agricultural High School has a large farm and Dione gave the students a hypothetical case study. The students turned it into a Boys vs Girls Challenge
The girls team workshop the case study questions and their answers
You are feeding the sheep and notice that a couple are lame, dribbling and have sores on their noses”
Question 1 How might the virus have entered the farm?
- Who visits the farm
- What livestock comes onto the farm
- What non-livestock inputs come onto the farm
Question 2 How would you contain the disease and prevent further spread?
- Where could the virus have already spread to ?
- Are their any restrictions you need to place on the school farmer or the whole school?
- What should you do with the diseased animals?
Question 3. Who do you need to notify about the disease?
As you can see a lively discussion ensued and it was clear their was a lot of student knowledge in the room including many found here. The result? A narrow win by the girls team
The students also took the opportunity to unveil their Archie
As you can see from this time-lapse video they had a lot of fun
The school has a very impressive hydroponic setup for growing lettuce
Other highlights from Dione’s visit that included a delicious lunch