Conference focus on top agriculture

Quality agriculture was the focus of 60 teachers at a conference near Balclutha last week.

Telford projects manager Andrew Thompson said 57 teachers from Australia and seven from New Zealand took part in the four-day conference at the Telford campus.

Centred on quality agriculture, the National Association of Agricultural Educators (Australia) annual conference focused on the importance of having a well-trained and educated workforce which used new and innovative technologies.

Delegates were taught a range of hands-on skills, and had field trips to industry factories including the nearby freezing works at Finegand.

It was the first time the annual Australian conference had been held in New Zealand.

Hosting the event was a good opportunity to share knowledge between teachers of agriculture in both countries and learn different practices, Mr Thompson said.

''It's an exciting industry to be involved with.''

On Wednesday, delegates took part in an eight-event competition based on a range of agriculture skills - quad-bike riding, tractor driving, fencing, forestry, horticulture, working with large animals, sheep, and scoring the condition of cattle.

The competition was well-received and delegates wanted it included in future conferences, he said.

Those at the conference were impressed with Telford's calibre of staff and tutors. Mr Thompson hoped to further build on relationships between teachers in both countries.

''It's good to have an exchange between Australian and New Zealand teachers in agriculture.''

-helena.dereus@odt.co.nz

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