Inspiring ideas shine

22nd Aug 2019

The Northern Tablelands Local Land Services Schools Property Planning Competition gives high school agriculture students first-hand experience in investigating the real-life challenges faced by local farmers.
The Competition recognises students for their understanding of core issues like sustainable agricultural production, biosecurity and natural resource management. This year’s winners were announced today at an awards presentation at AgQuip by Local Land Services Chair, Richard Bull.
This year, students were particularly tested by the drought conditions, providing a perfect example of the need to develop innovative solutions when facing complex challenges.
Johnelle Stevens, Farm Planner and Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator, Northern Tablelands Local Land Services, co-ordinated this year’s competition and experienced the immediate benefits students gain through the practical application of their classroom-based knowledge to the paddock.
“The students are learning how to deal with tangible challenges that they may experience when managing sustainable enterprises in the future. This fosters the growth of practical, real-world skills and encourages the students to look at the entire farming system as a whole,” said Johnelle.
“What’s really valuable about the competition is that it gets students out of the classroom and offers them a unique opportunity to build on their understanding of land management issues, translating scientific theory into on-farm decisions,” she said.
“The innovative ideas presented by the students included everything from advanced fodder storage, to technical solutions employing drones. Some of the concepts are ground-breaking and are truly inspirational,” said Johnelle.
This year, students were set the challenge of developing a management plan for the property ‘Bald Blair’ located at Guyra. Owners Sam and Kirsty White were delighted to host a field day and support the initiative that involved students drawing up management plans to make their enterprise both economically and environmentally sustainable.
“We recognise the importance of providing opportunities for the next generation who will be shaping the agricultural sector in the future. It is terrific to see they have unfettered thoughts and are not constrained by anything in terms of potential ideas,” noted Sam.
“We were encouraged to see the amount of thought that the students put into their management plans. They came up with some fantastic ideas, some of which are novel, some of which are very useful, and we intend to utilise some of them in our business” he said.
The winners of the competition were selected from entries submitted by more than 230 agriculture students who attended the field day at Bald Blair.
2019 Northern Tablelands Local Land Services Schools Property Planning Competition winners:
Perpetual Champion: O’Connor Catholic College - Eliza Boland, Jamie Ellis, Lucy Barley, Samuel Graham
Reserve Champion: Glen Innes High School - Harry Lyn
Highly Commended: The Armidale School - Oliver Kearney, Henry Pitman
Highly Commended: O’Connor Catholic College - Erin Porter, Hain van Eyk, Macey Clarke, Analiese Wark
Encouragement Award: Stanthorpe State High School - Alex Rankin