Farmer firing up next generation’s enthusiasm for the land
BELINDA Williams of Bowen’s Stackleroth Farms believes production horticulture must capture the imagination of young people to prosper.
To that end, she’s working with the Bowen PCYC to deliver Greener Futures, a program tailored for high school students to gain practical hands- on experience through horticulture projects.
She provides the land, resources and expertise. She also introduces the students to others in the horticulture industry.
She says that opens students’ eyes to the broader spectrum of what the industry entails and its prospects.
Ms Williams has also taken on a high school student as a trainee who will complete a Certificate in Horticulture II over the next 12 to 18 months.
Bowen State High School student Stevi- Leigh Vico is completing her training through Rural Training Queensland, while studying at school, and working alongside Ms Williams.
Stevi- Leigh has a fire in her belly for the industry and Ms Williams plans on nurturing that fire to launch Stevi- Leigh into a career in agriculture.
With Greener Futures now in its second year, Ms Williams is seeing positive results.
“If we are to contribute in a meaningful way to the productivity increases required to feed a growing population, we need to make the skills, knowledge, occupations, and people who make up the food supply chain, a national priority,” Ms Williams said.
“We need to rethink how we attract, educate and retain agricultural staff to avoid the predicted exodus of valuable human resources.”
Belinda Williams with trainee Stevi- Leigh Vico.