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Australian Agricultural Centre

Jo Marshall:

I popped my daughter on a plane to Kenya last night. After completing a Degree in Development Studies at Australian National University she is exploring her opportunities in Sustainable Development in third world countries. This all began when she travelled to Southern Sudan when she was 8 years old and saw people having to pump water and carry all of their belongings on their head. This experience stayed with Bella and has been the career she has dreamed of since. 

For me it wasn’t until about 10 years ago, ie 40!!, when I discovered how much I love being a community facilitator and coordinating and facilitating projects. This led me to the determination and interest in building the Australian Agricultural Centre. This opportunity began from a discussion with David Montgomery a family friend I have known for 36 years, and his original plans for the Australian Research Innovation Centre. 

I hope anyone who has reached the middle of their life can recognise that “AH, HA” moment, when you discover that true thing you love to do. Farmers have that passion for what they do. Maybe not everything that is involved, like any career, but the essence to their employment and lifestyle is what they love and why they what they do.

I have just had the opportunity to travel three states and one territory connecting with people who have the same goals and passion for the future of agriculture. I thoroughly enjoyed being on the road and talking to like minded people. Our common goal is a need to help the next generation find and choose agriculture. I attended, and presented at, the Tasmanian Agricultural Educators Conference at Hagley Farm School. It was so amazing to be with a room of people who are working and thinking everyday how we develop the Agricultural Industry’s message to encourage the next generation to choose a career in Agriculture.

I also had the opportunity to begin discussions with the University of New England on our collaboration with the Australian Agricultural Centre. It was in one of our discussions that it was revealed that one student chose Agriculture at the University because of an encounter with a horse when she was young.  A quote I have heard a number of times “children can’t be what they can’t see”. These days the career opportunities for the next generation to choose from are enormous, I feel for them, and we are all fighting for our own industries. 

It is that early interaction, that plants the seed. Some of us are lucky enough to know from an early age, have had that interaction, discussion, experience or moment that changes their life and builds the thirst for what they want to be. Or, like me, do not connect with their passion until they are older. The Australian Agricultural Centre will provide both. The interactive tourism education centre will provide hands on fun educational activities including agricultural products and processes that will provide that early encounter to “plant the seed”. We will also help those who choose agriculture later in life by providing agricultural experience training, farm skills, and exposure to innovation and technology and sustainable farming. Work with the Australian Agricultural Centre to provide the encounter, education, and experience to build an understanding and interest in the true story of Australian Agriculture to “plant the seed” while they’re young.

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