Cotton fields become temporary classroom for agricultural educators

NAAE 2023
PHOTO: Agriculture teachers learn from Darling Downs cotton farmer Georgie Krieg.

Agricultural teachers have gained first-hand knowledge from cotton farmers and other agricultural industries at the National Agriculture Association Education conference in Toowoomba.

About 120 teachers attended the conference from every state and territory, not just from regional areas, but with many travelling from metropolitan schools to learn more about agriculture.

Cotton was one of the focus points for the agricultural teachers during this year’s conference, which included a trip to Georgie and Paul Krieg’s farm on the Darling Downs.

The teachers had the opportunity to ask in-depth questions to Georgie and Paul, along with Cotton Australia and Cotton Seed Distributors staff.

Cotton Australia’s Education Manager Jenny Hughes said the conference and farm visits was a chance for agricultural teachers to hear from industry experts to support them to integrate current practices and information into their classroom programs.

PHOTO: Georgie Krieg talks irrigation techniques with agriculture teachers.

“The ultimate aim is to equip the teachers to inspire students to enter the agricultural workforce – in area’s they are passionate in – whether that be a farm hand, data analysist, marketing or even through sciences such as robotics that are shaping future farming methods,” Ms Hughes said.

It’s the first time the conference has been held since the coronavirus pandemic, and this year, Cotton Australia sponsored two teachers to attend, who are both new to agriculture. Tipperary Station School Principal Carla Clough and Bundaberg teacher Martin Van Der Merwe attended the conference, thanks to Cotton Australia.

“It’s really exciting to see these teachers starting their journey from the industry ground up and learn firsthand from our experienced farmers to take that information back to the students,” Jenny said.

The conference was supported by Rabobank Client Council, including Southern Queensland Council Chairman Stuart Armitage, who also grows cotton on the Darling Downs.

Ms Hughes hoped the teachers’ on-farm visit would lead to an increase in on-farm visits for students to be further inspired about agriculture.