The Farm Machinery & Industry Association (FMIA) is making education a priority this year. More accurately, precision farming education. Source: Farm Weekly
As FMIA executive officer John Henchy points out, there is no dedicated precision farming course taught in Western Australia.
“There’s no higher education institution that has anything in its syllabus on precision farming apart from maybe using some of the collected data as a management tool,” he said.
“But there is nothing being done to help the student understand the fundamentals of machinery operation involved in precision ag.
“And this is at a time when precision farming is on an exponential pathway with potential to help increase the nation’s wealth well beyond the $60 billion the ag industry contributed to last year’s gross domestic product.
“With the re-structuring of TAFE colleges in WA, it is timely to push for precision farming as an agenda item.”
Called AUR30416-Certificate III in Agricultural Mechanical Technology, it had been taught in the eastern States for three years.
“It doesn’t include precision farming as a core subject, so if this doesn’t change we are seeking to make it a stand-alone Certificate IV course,” Mr Henchy said.
“That’s what our industry wants, and it’s not just for apprentices.
“We want an opportunity for everybody involved in learning about agriculture to be exposed to precision farming because there’s no connect at the moment between the technology and learning about it.
“We don’t want graduates coming out of colleges ready for a career in ag and having no idea about how precision ag fits into the industry.”