A BOLD bid to reposition agricultural education at the WA College of Agriculture, Denmark, campus is underway to ensure graduating students have the skills to use and apply the latest in livestock management technology.
In a partnership involving Gallagher and farm consulting firm Planfarm, the school is preparing a technology implementation strategy to be incorporated into its overall farm operational plan.
The college was recently granted independent public school status, a privilege that comes with a number of commitments including the development of a new school vision and strategic plan.
“Working with our board, our school and the broader community we have identified that we want to position this college as one that educates students that will go on to work for the most productive farming enterprises in this State,” said principal Kevin Osborne.
“Those enterprises typically incorporate the latest farm management technologies and so it is incumbent on us to ensure we are providing the training that makes our students valuable future employees of top quartile farm businesses.”
The college has embarked on a major planning process with Planfarm in conjunction with Maree Gooch, from Belay Consulting.
The plan’s centrepiece is the task of preparing the college farm and associated teachings to be relevant to farm businesses in 2020 and beyond.
“We identified that fully integrating our farm technology and ensuring our teaching staff and students have the capacity to make optimum use of it practically and in making key farm production decisions, is an important element of our future make-up,” Mr Osborne said.
“Our challenge is then to incorporate this into our class room activities.”
A visit to the college last week from Gallagher State manager Craig Monahan and sheep technology consultant Anthony Shepherd has helped further shape the technology component of the farm plan.
“We hope to have our farm production plan for the next five years completed in the next month or so with the intent to start rolling out some major changes soon after,’’ Mr Osborne said.
“This will include a recruitment drive to replace our long-serving farm manager Fred Knight who retires this year.
“We are excited to think that we will be able to commence that recruitment with what I believe will be a visionary farm management plan as the foundation.
“Our new farm manager will have the challenge to optimise farm technology and ensure we have graduating students that are entirely familiar with cutting edge farm management technology.”
Mr Osborne paid tribute to the sponsorship of Planfarm and the support from Gallagher in contributing to the technology platform.