THIS week, the Food and Fibre Education SA initiative are taking 20 high-achieving students on a careers camp to promote the diverse range of opportunities in SA's agricultural sector.
Students have been selected from all corners of the state - from Orroroo to Port Lincoln, Booleroo Centre to Adelaide, Kapunda to Loxton.
Food and Fibre Education SA manager Belinda Cay says the camp will showcase more than 50 careers in the state's food and fibre industries sector, making students realise that traditional agricultural careers are more than just gumboots and tractors.
Ms Cay says the camp challenges the traditional views of agriculture - with the camp called 'food and fibre', to not only reflect the terminology used in the national curriculum, but also to reflect that the industry is responsible for growing sustainable and nutritious food, such as grains, beef, sheep meat and horticultural produce. It also explores natural fibres, such as wool.
"Over the four-day camp students will hear from a range of industry representatives who will speak openly about their career pathways, salaries and opportunities," she said.
"Students get to ask about the pros and cons of the career and see their work place in action.
"We have run these camps for a number of years now and we are seeing the initiative both encouraging people to move into related certificate or tertiary study pathways and then through to the industry, and changing their perceptions of what agricultural careers look like.
New Holland Agriculture, who are platinum sponsors of the 2019 camp, became involved with the Food and Fibre initiative as they see huge potential in delivering initiatives, which positively promote the industry.
New Holland Agriculture SA sales manager Peter Brooks says with estimates of about five jobs for every one agricultural or agribusiness graduate, initiatives that help attract the next generation of experts are essential.
"New Holland uses STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture and Math) skills every day to build innovative machinery for Australian growers - some of our farm implements are equipped with four computers, they steer themselves, measure grain quality and quantity, map the land topography and have features to reduce emissions," he said.
"We are always seeking skilled graduates to help us deliver the next innovative solution to sustainable agriculture.
"We are keen to show students that the industry is not just for people from a farming background, it is for innovators, entrepreneurs, scientists and business managers. The students will be able to understand first-hand what goes on in the regions and the opportunities we offer both nationally and internationally".
Along with a site visit to experience the latest in New Holland machinery, students will explore the University of Adelaide's Roseworthy and Waite Campus, Platinum Ag, Coopers Brewery, Australian Grain Technology, Princess Royal Station Feedlot, Lauke Feed Mills and Lienerts.
Ms Cay says the program is designed to showcase the careers along the value chain - from paddock to plate.
Following the camp, which is endorsed by the Agricultural Teachers Association of SA, students will complete a week-long work placement at a business of interest.
Food and Fibre Education SA is supported by the University of Adelaide, Grains Producers SA, New Holland, the Royal Agricultural & Horticultural Society and the Crop Science Society of SA.