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Darling Downs and Lockyer Valley farmers open gates to teachers, with support from CQUni

Published:04 March 2020

An image from the Teacher Farm Experience in the Northern Territory. Queensland teachers will also be learning about innovative ways of adopting agriculture into their classrooms.

Teachers from across southern Queensland and northern NSW are encouraged to step out of the classroom and into the paddock thanks to a unique learning opportunity with some of the state’s most tech-savvy and progressive farmers.

Applications are now being sought for the Teacher Farm Experience Program (TeacherFX), an initiative allowing teachers to discover first-hand the advancements in ag technology and sustainable production, as local producers open their gates and showcase their working farms.

The intention is that this knowledge can then be translated into the classroom, with the program aimed at equipping educators with an increased understanding and interest in food and fibre production – with a focus on how they can adopt the learnings into STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and digital technology curricular.

Held on the Darling Downs and Lockyer Valley, the two-day professional development program will be held on Monday, 30 March to Tuesday 31 March 2020, at no cost to participating teachers. Registrations are via www.rabobank.com.au/teacherfx .

The program is a joint initiative of Rabobank’s Client Councils (groups of the bank’s farming clients who meet to discuss issues and implement initiatives to contribute to the sustainability of rural communities) and CQUniversity Australia.

As part of the collaboration, CQUni has developed innovative and interactive resources for teachers to take back to the classroom and an evaluation framework to determine its success.

CQUni Research Fellow in Agri-tech Education and Extension, Dr Amy Cosby is thrilled to be bringing the program to Queensland.

“The program offers an excellent opportunity for teachers to undertake a professional development program, focused on showcasing how food and fibre production is STEM in action,” she said.

“Feedback from the 2019 TeacherFX programs in Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Victoria found all those who attended would recommend their colleagues attend.”

Dr Cosby said research also found that, prior to attending TeacherFX, 30 per cent of teachers didn’t incorporate any food and fibre into their teaching programs.

After completing the program, 98 per cent said they would now encourage students to consider a career in agriculture.

The roll out of TeacherFX is part of a wider initiative, spearheaded by agribusiness banking specialist, Rabobank, to help bridge the urban-rural divide.

This will be the first TeacherFX program to run in Queensland.

Rabobank Australia & New Zealand Group is a part of the global Rabobank Group, the world’s leading specialist in food and agribusiness banking. Rabobank has nearly 120 years’ experience providing customised banking and finance solutions to businesses involved in all aspects of food and agribusiness. Rabobank is structured as a cooperative and operates in 40 countries, servicing the needs of approximately 8.6 million clients worldwide through a network of more than 1000 offices and branches. Rabobank Australia & New Zealand Group is one of Australasia’s leading agricultural lenders and a significant provider of business and corporate banking and financial services to the region’s food and agribusiness sector. The bank has 94 branches throughout Australia and New Zealand.