The strategic importance of WA’s agricultural colleges in developing career pathways has been highlighted ahead of the Intercollegiate Meat Judging (ICMJ) Competition, during which the Murdoch University team will defend their title across six categories.
WAFarmers Chief Executive Officer Stephen Brown said the organisation was pleased to hear that some members of the 10-person Murdoch University ICMJ team had completed studies at an agricultural college prior to undertaking tertiary studies in animal sciences or other agricultural-related fields.
“The support of agricultural students in secondary and tertiary institutions will not only work towards our goal of creating a viable, profitable and sustainable future for the industry, but will open up opportunities for them to gain significant industry exposure and broaden their understandings of the sector,” Mr Brown said.
“We recently announced a partnership with the Department of Education WA to provide Agricultural Ambassador Scholarships to Year 11 students at agricultural colleges, and we hope that students seeking to apply will follow the ICMJ closely to see what opportunities are available for them later in their educational journey.
“This relationship between secondary students and tertiary students is so important – there is great value to be gained for the younger cohort by looking up to their contemporaries in the industry.
“Therefore, we must support students at the grassroots level to ensure they gain vital exposure to the agricultural industry and, hopefully, choose to pursue a career in the field.”
Before commencing her tertiary studies, Boddington resident and ICMJ teammate Kira Batterbee said her love of the industry was influenced by growing up on a farm and during her secondary school years.
“I attended Narrogin Agricultural College and loved it there; that is when my interests in agriculture really grew,” Ms Batterbee said.
“I have since started my own Suffolk stud and am aiming to produce animals that carry a lot more muscling throughout their carcass, therefore improving the animals’ yield.”
Ms Batterbee said she hoped to not only gain the skills to correctly judge a carcass and how to interpret market specifications, but also to increase her networks with her fellow competitors and industry professionals.
Additionally, Ms Batterbee said that young people needed to be supported to enter the industry, as they often bring fresh and exciting ideas to the table regarding farming practices and production gains.
The team will travel to Wagga Wagga in early July 2016 to represent Murdoch University in their 10th year of competition.
WAFarmers is sponsoring the Murdoch University ICMJ team alongside Harvey Beef, Linley Valley, The Royal Agricultural Society of WA and Murdoch University.