University of Queensland dean of agriculture, Professor Neal Menzies, spoke at the National Horticulture Convention in Queensland in late June and spoke about the potential for the industry and the challenge in attracting students to study agriculture.
Queensland Country Life reported that Prof Menzies said agriculture is barely on the radar for career-hungry university students. Among those, horticulture struggles to get even a passing consideration.
“The kids aren’t coming from school to study agriculture. The plant part of ag is worse than the animal part of ag,” Professor Menzies said.
He said Australia boasts some of the best agriculture university courses in the world, stating our ability to deliver an education remains extremely good.
He said it largely came down to what young perceive agricultural work to be- long hours, dirty, using chemicals and affecting the environment.
“We have an image problem. We need to remake our image, remake the image of our industries,” Prof Menzies said.
Despite the challenges, he said the timing for getting into agriculture couldn’t be better.
“We are at the start of a new and good time for agriculture,” Professor Menzies said.