NSW Farmers AssociationPress release, September 20, 2022
An Australian university found that four out of five primary school students had no idea how modern milk is produced.
The survey of more than 5,000 Australian primary and secondary school students found many had outdated ideas about where food comes from, with the majority believing cows were still milked by hand.
NSW Farmers Dairy Committee chairman Colin Thompson said he could hardly blame students for their lack of knowledge as Australia became more urbanized and lost its connection to agriculture.
“Once upon a time cows were milked by hand, but commercial dairy farming is a pretty high-tech affair these days,” Mr Thompson said.
“A lot of these young people probably want to grow up to work in technology or robotics, and don’t realize the opportunities that exist in agriculture to do just that.
“We need to do more to teach students where their food comes from and to value the local farmers who produce that food.”
With a growing world population and growing food shortage around the world, increasing agricultural productivity was seen as a necessity by industry.
Georgia Campbell of NSW Farmers, which offers the popular Kids To Farms scheme, said when pupils realized they could one day make a living flying drones or using robots on a farm, their eyes lit up .
“It’s so great to see these students come to a farm expecting to see one thing and then learn that it’s an exciting industry with a lot of potential,” Ms. Campbell said.
“There are so many misconceptions that farming is a simple, low-tech thing, but the reality is that it is a skilled profession.
“Once they get a taste of what farming is like, the lights turn on, and that’s exactly what Kids To Farms is designed for.”
The Kids to Farms programme, a partnership between NSW Farmers and the Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, aims to provide primary school pupils with two farming experiences before the age of 12.
To date, more than 3,200 students have benefited from this opportunity, but Mr Thompson said there was clearly a need to do more to close the knowledge gap.
“We just had this federal jobs and skills summit, and we have to remember that the children of today will be the workers of tomorrow,” Thompson said.
“By exposing students to the reality of agriculture and all the new emerging technologies, they will learn that the farmers of tomorrow will also be coders, technicians and engineers.
“I would like to see more programs to bring students face to face with agriculture and help dispel some myths and stereotypes that still linger. »