A new AgriHQ initiative aimed at attracting more young people to agriculture will be launched next month.
AgriHQ successful Ag&Ed programme has been revamped and is poised to return to Farmers Weekly, this time in partnership with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).
Starting in June, a double-page Ag & Ed education programme will appear in Farmers Weekly for six weeks.
The pilot programme will culminate in a two-day innovation challenge in Manawatū aimed at Year 11 pupils from throughout New Zealand.
Twenty pupils will be selected to take part in the challenge, which will team them up with industry leaders to develop strategies and models aimed at solving agri-sector challenges.
At the completion of the challenge teams will present their plans to judges in a Dragon’s Den-type scenario.
Ag&Ed project manager Dave Craig said it is hoped the initiative will cement a partnership with MPI and help attract young people into a primary industry advisory career.
“Ag&Ed was devised to complement our agri-business teachers in the great work they do in our schools.
“Our pilot programme, powered by MPI, is focused on showing current agri students that becoming a primary industry advisor is a legitimate and rewarding career after school. Agriculture isn’t just about farms, cows and sheep, as we know too well. We want to make sure that our youth understand that agriculture is the fabric of every New Zealander.”
Craig said the weekly publication will have modules for students, teachers, parents and children to learn more about agriculture.
“It’s an exciting space to be in and one that will continue to carry New Zealand forward for future generations.”
The Ag&Ed challenge will highlight a current on-farm problem and students will join with industry experts to help create solutions “that our ag sector will listen to and use”.
“Our aim at AgriHq is to create avenues for our youth to engage in and participate with those in our ag space. We’ll look to run Ag&Ed across the school year and have multiple challenges tied to field days across New Zealand,” said Craig.
The new look Ag&Ed will have the same strong content, with QR codes for students to learn directly from the source.
Students wanting to be involved in the innovation challenge can apply through www.agrihq.co.nz, where they will complete a short application form.
“We have devised a few questions to help us narrow down to the initial 20 students, who we will call and speak with individually. What we are mainly looking for are students who have a passion for all things agriculture. They are curious, looking to help push the sector forward and are open to being challenged.”
Craig said it is exciting to have MPI on board, and this is an opportunity to showcase the work it does.
“Our partnership is highlighting MPI’s capability across the entire ag sector, and this pilot is focused on PIAS, or Primary Industry Advisory Services. We’re looking to upskill our youth around MPI’s trusted advisor network, showing this as a true career pathway.”