New agriculture degree prepares graduates for ‘boom century’

July 15 / 163

L-R: Bachelor of Agriculture students Miles Rowlands and Aisha Ozaksoy, FVAS Dean Ken Hinchcliff, BAg student Angus McKindlay and Senator Richard Colbeck. Photo: Trevor Phillips
L-R: Bachelor of Agriculture students Miles Rowlands and Aisha Ozaksoy, FVAS Dean Ken Hinchcliff, BAg student Angus McKindlay and Senator Richard Colbeck. Photo: Trevor Phillips

 

The University has launched a new Bachelor of Agriculture degree, designed to meet the high demand for agricultural scientists into the future.

 

First unveiled at Dookie Campus last week, the new degree was designed in consultation with industry experts, employers and alumni to meet the high demand for agricultural scientists in what is predicted to be a highly productive century for Australian agriculture.

 

The world’s population is projected to reach around 8 billion by 2025, with millions of people likely to move into middle class by 2030.

 

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Senator Richard Colbeck, visited the Dookie Campus last Wednesday to launch the degree.

 

He said it was good news for young people seeking a pathway into highly skilled careers in agriculture. 

 

"This is an exciting time for agriculture in Australia, with new markets opening up and growing demand for our products,” Senator Colbeck said.

 

“This is creating new opportunities and increasing returns to farmers, meaning agriculture is a great industry for young people to be getting into."

 

Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences Dean Ken Hinchcliff said 

the new curriculum will enable students to develop an extra depth of expertise in agricultural economics, animal science or plant and soil science. 

 

“Our graduates will be able to employ these skills in external industry placements and cross-disciplinary projects that will ask them to examine the big issues facing agriculture today,” he said.

 

“There are more than four vacant jobs per agricultural science graduate, and the sector supports 1.6 million Australian jobs when related industries are taken into account, around half of which are in cities,” Professor Hinchcliff said.

 

This year the University had the highest number of enrolments in agriculture of any institution in Australia, with 153, a 63 per cent increase over 2014.

 

The new Bachelor of Agriculture offers specialisation across three majors: Animal Science, Plant and Soil Science and Economics, as well as external placements to understand broader industry context and integrated cross-disciplinary subjects.

 

Students will also be able to choose a ‘Dookie semester’, with hands-on experience in the latest precision farming technologies at the Dookie campus.

 

Professor Hinchcliff said the Dookie campus provides agricultural science students with a uniquely valuable experience at a state-of-the-art working farm.

 

“Dookie sits at the intersection of Victoria’s prime livestock, orchard and cropping land and near major agricultural support industries like processing, manufacturing and transport,” he said.

 

“No other Australian university teaches agricultural science at both a city and rural campus. Dookie is the jewel in the crown of our agricultural teaching and research, and the students who learn there will come away from it with an enviable wealth of on-the-ground experience.”

 

Story by Nerissa Hannink

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