Emerald Ag College students get back in the field
THE Emerald Agricultural College will be returning students to the field as its new director increases collaboration with local primary producers and industry.
The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry John McVeigh appointed Emerald's Tony Robinson as the director of the Emerald Agricultural College.
Mr Robinson replaces the centralised management put in place in 2005 when Queensland agricultural colleges were amalgamated.
"We're going back to that cycle of ensuring students get an understanding of the holistic nature of agriculture and the whole life cycle," Mr Robinson said.
"You get involved with the planning for the crop, planting the crop, maintaining the crop, harvesting the crop and actually selling the crop."
Mr Robinson said since the amalgamation, the college had "lost that local direction" but was adamant it would be put quickly back on track.
He said an increased focus on pastoral care was a priority, along with an upgrade of information communication and technology facilities with high-speed wireless internet in the works.
A Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry research centre being developed on campus would help the "next generation of young people in agriculture realise the benefits of research and development," Mr Robinson said.
Emerald Agricultural College board chairman Mike McCosker said the industry was "crying out" for people to work and students were being poached by farmers.
"Present farmers sending the future leaders of our industry to places like this are very important because they can build a network of friends that helps them right through their career," Mr McCosker said.