A bat­tle to save youth ag pro­gram

Central and North Rural Weekly - - DROUGHT -

This pro­gram pro­vided the first chance for many children to touch sheep, cat­tle and chick­ens... — Michael Guerin

QUEENS­LAN­DERS are be­ing urged to help save a long-run­ning children’s agri­cul­tural ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram fac­ing the axe as a re­sult of State Gov­ern­ment fund­ing cuts. AgForce CEO Michael Guerin said the School to In­dus­try Part­ner­ship Pro­gram (SIPP) had been op­er­at­ing since 2004 and en­gaged with more than 10,000 Queens­land school stu­dents and teach­ers ev­ery year to show­case where food comes from and to high­light job op­por­tu­ni­ties in agri­cul­ture.

“This is a unique pro­gram that works across Queens­land to con­nect school stu­dents of all ages with agri­cul­ture and show them the important role it plays in their lives,” he said. “This pro­gram has pro­vided the first op­por­tu­nity for many children to touch sheep, cat­tle and chick­ens, to learn that cot­ton is from a plant, to pull veg­eta­bles from a gar­den and to climb over trac­tors.

AgForce was dis­mayed to re­ceive a let­ter from the Queens­land Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Fisheries stat­ing “DAF is un­able to con­trib­ute any fund­ing to SIPP be­yond 2018” al­though we note the Min­is­ter is now say­ing “the pro­gram is cur­rently un­der re­view and no de­ci­sion has been made on its fu­ture”.

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