Slashed prices on agriculture degrees may revitalise the agriculture industry.
Slashed prices on agriculture degrees may revitalise the agriculture industry.

Cheap degrees attract ‘cream of the crop’ to Warwick farming

THE local agriculture industry is set to benefit from the government’s recent move to slash ‘job ready’ university degree prices by up to 64 per cent.

The federal government is expected to make qualifications cheaper in sectors such as health, agriculture and maths while doubling the price of studies in law and humanities.

While those with their sights set on communications or commerce are set to suffer, retired Hermitage plant pathologist Greg Platz said he hoped it would be an incentive to get more young people into agriculture science.

“It’s such a big industry and gives us a lot of export dollars if the Chinese keep buying,” he said.

“There’s so much diversity in an agricultural degree, you can go electronically into robotics or pathology, it’s endless.”

The government says its priorities have been defined by pre-pandemic modelling showing 62 per cent of employment growth over the next five years will be in health care, science, technology, education and construction.

Mr Platz said he believes it will give employers better quality recruits.

“You’re going to attract the cream of the crop,” he said.

“Those taking over the family farms these days have university degrees and are a lot more skilled in theory, in addition to the knowledge of how Dad farmed previously.

“The practical knowledge and skill, you’ll be a better farmer, a lot more adaptable to change and technologically advanced.”

Mr Platz agreed the sector is ripe with opportunity, particularly on the Southern Downs.

“There’s plenty of positions available in our rural areas and such a diversity of employment opportunities,” he said.

As the drought rages on, Mr Platz said the introduction of more graduates could help to workshop water security solutions.

“I think the drought gives added incentive to undertake agricultural courses because in Australia it's a common occurrence and one of the big strength in ag is living with dry periods and being able to farm and produce where moisture is limited.”

No current students will pay increased or reduced fees.



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