Webinar series tackles safety, biosecurity and climate risk on school farms

09 March 2023

A series of webinars with industry experts has begun to upskill agriculture teachers and school farm managers on how to keep the next generation safe.

The 2023 Farm Safety Teacher PD Webinars – Reduce Harm on the Farm kicked off this week with a session focusing on farm biosecurity.

The project is a Commonwealth funded initiative from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and is being delivered by CQUniversity in collaboration with Agriculture Victoria.

Project Officer Anna Day says the webinars highlight a range of issues that teachers and farm managers face including livestock diseases and general biosecurity.

“Not only are teachers and farm managers responsible for keeping students safe while they are on the school farm, but they are also role models for safe behaviour that can set children on the right track for life,” she said.

Nearly 15 per cent of fatalities on farms involve children who are under the age of 15.

“Teaching students how to behave safely in a farm environment while they are at school could be a critical way to help more young people make the right choices.”

Dr Jeff Cave delivered the webinar on exotic livestock disease this week and says it’s important that school farms are examples of best practice for students, for a variety of reasons.

“It’s not just for their safety in that moment, on the school farm, but also in the future,” he said.

“We need them to be thinking about risks to themselves, others, animals and the environment and acting accordingly and I don’t think you can start educating children about this too early.”

Dr Cave said it is also vital to the agriculture industry more broadly that school farms are operated safely.

“Many school farms are quite small in comparison to the average commercial operation however they are just as susceptible and responsible when it comes to biosecurity and livestock diseases.”

“Indonesia is currently responding to widespread outbreaks of both foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and lumpy skin disease (LSD). These diseases are exotic to Australia and we have never been at a greater risk of an outbreak. An incursion of either virus into Australia would result in significant animal health and trade issues.”

“For all those reasons, it’s imperative that teachers and farm managers are across the latest information about managing exotic diseases.”

The topics and times for the upcoming webinars are as follows:

  • 14 March: Come Clean, Go Clean – General biosecurity practices with Richard Smith (Dairy Industry Development Officer) 3:00 – 5:00pm AEDT
  • 21 March: Is your school farm a biosecurity risk with Richard Smith 3:00 – 5:00pm AEDT
  • 4 April: Changing environments and climate risk with Helen Chenoweth (Dairy Biosecurity and Business Resilience Officer) 3:00 – 5:00pm AEDT
  • 2 May: Animal Safety on School Farms with Dr Nigel Brown 3:00 – 5:00pm AEDT

Follow this link to register to attend bit.ly/2023FarmSafetyPD