Agriculture degree is one of the most popular subjects for students to take in the first year of a Bachelor of Agriculture degree in the Australian Capital Territory.
But a survey of more than 10,000 students by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows that just over half of students have never even heard of agriculture.
The survey also found that only 6 per cent of respondents had studied the subject as a full-time undergraduate.
The main focus of a student’s agriculture degree is the knowledge of agriculture and farm products, and it is taught by students from all over the country.
Some of the topics covered include: how to grow food, how to care for farm animals, how a local farmer markets and markets produce, how the farmers sell their produce, and how to manage a local dairy and dairy products company.
It also includes topics such as the difference between organic and conventional farming methods, how farmers can make money selling their produce in supermarkets and the best practices for farmers marketing their products.ABS spokesperson Kate O’Connell said a large majority of the agricultural degrees are in farming, but there are a lot of subjects that students do not know how to apply for.
“In terms of a range of topics, the majority of agriculture degree students in regional and remote areas have never taken a farm management course, for example, and that’s certainly a big challenge in the remote areas,” she said.
“Some of these are actually really high-profile areas and those students who have taken a farming course have tended to focus on that and they’ve done well in the courses they’ve taken.”
But that’s not the case for those students in remote and rural areas.
“We’d say the majority are still learning about farming, they’re just less likely to have taken one of those courses.”‘
We’re in a transition’Agricultural degrees have always been a popular subject for students and the trend is continuing with a focus on sustainability, according to Kate O`Connell.
“What we see in the last year, and what’s also going on in the regional and rural sectors, is that there’s a significant shift in the emphasis in the agricultural sector to sustainability,” she explained.
“Agriculture is becoming a much more mainstream topic and we’re in the middle of a transition and we’ve got a lot more students who are taking agricultural courses now than we did last year.”
But Ms O`Connell said that’s still not enough to satisfy students.
“The big problem we have with the agricultural degree is we’re actually still not able to get people into the field and into a job,” she stated.
“They’re not getting a job.
So we need to have a whole range of skills, including skills in farming management, skills in marketing, skills as a farmer, skills on the land, so we’re really not quite there yet.”
Ms O`Sullivan said the university has set up the Rural Farmers’ Partnership and the Rural Rural Development Program to help students who want to become farmers.
“If you are a rural farmer you can get on a rural farm and you can actually earn some money, which is quite nice,” she added.
“So it’s really about learning the skills and being able to work with people on the farm.”
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