News

Teacher program to visit Goulburn Valley in October

By Rodney Woods

Teachers from across Victoria are urged to apply for a unique opportunity to learn firsthand from some of the state’s most innovative farmers, as they open their gates to showcase the latest advancements in agriculture technology and sustainable production.

The innovative Teacher Farm Experience Program (TeacherFX) — a two-day professional development program to be held on October 9 and 10 in the Goulburn Valley — aims to equip educators with an increased understanding and interest in food and fibre production, with a particular focus on how they can adopt the learnings into STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and digital technology curriculums.

Program organiser, Rabobank Northern Victorian Client Council member and Kaarimba dairy farmer Monique Bryant said TeacherFX provided a platform to showcase the many career opportunities in agriculture.

“Being involved in a career that produces food and fibre for the world is exciting,” she said.

Mrs Bryant said with increasing employment opportunities right across the agriculture supply chain, the sector offered career paths in a number of areas including technology, engineering, genetics, marketing, finance, agronomy, soil management, environmental management and research.

She said TeacherFX aimed to provide teachers with the confidence to pass their learnings on to students by giving them access to farms, and providing them with a learning package to take back and use in the classroom.

“By giving teachers a hands-on look at how agriculture uses STEM in many aspects of business, we hope they return to their classrooms with the skills and confidence to make connections back to agriculture in their teaching programs.

“Because realistically a lot of students might not have a connection to agriculture, but if their teachers are showcasing ag in their classrooms, it might get them thinking about a career in the sector.”

The program is delivered at no cost to participating teachers.

With plans to roll out TeacherFX across Australia, Rabobank regional manager for Riverina and northern Victoria Sally Bull said it was exciting the Goulburn Valley would host the first program outside Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

“There is so much diversity in Victoria’s agricultural sector,” she said,

“And this will be put on show with the program including visits to a dairy farm, fresh fruit and vegetable operation and fresh cut flower enterprise.”

Ms Bull said the group would also hear from Edwina Beveridge, a well-known pork producer, whose farm utilises a large quantity of food waste as pig feed and makes power from methane captured from pig manure – which saw her enterprise win the NSW EPA’s Green Globe award in 2018 for resource efficiency.

The second day of the program will include interactive classroom sessions on how to collect and analyse agricultural data, with the teachers equipped with interactive resources to take back to their classrooms.

Ms Bull said there was no charge for teachers to attend TeacherFX, which includes meals, accommodation with local farming families and return bus transport from Melbourne.

For more information or to lodge an application to attend the program, visit: www.teacherfx.com.au

Applications close Friday, September 20.