Agriculture students present solutions to issues facing industry

Final year students in the Bachelor of Agriculture complete a capstone subject, Professional Practice for Agriculture, which allows students to apply the theoretical and practical knowledge they acquire during their degree to analyse large-scale challenges confronting agricultural industries.

Communication with a range of audiences, teamwork and interdisciplinary collaboration in preparation for the diverse needs of the agricultural workforce are key to the design of the Bachelor of Agriculture. This capstone subject allows students to put these skills into practice as they prepare to enter the workforce or further study.

Students carried out individual and group project work that identified practical responses to a range of complex agricultural industry challenges.

They presented their work in poster format and discussed their ideas for future action with industry representatives, Faculty staff, parents and friends.

Professor Herbert Kronzucker, Head of the School of Agriculture and Food, subject co-coordinator Dr Sarah Frankland and lecturer Dr Michael Santhanam-Martin congratulated students on their achievements and presented four groups of students with outstanding achievement awards.

The Outstanding Achievement Awards recognised each group's in-class presentations of their posters.

Their citations and a gallery of photos from the event are below.

Jaqueline Graham and Evan Spoljaric

Jaqueline Graham and Evan Spoljaric explored the sustainability challenge Towards sustainable water management in Northern Victoria.

You can view their poster here.

Evan Spoljaric and his poster with Head, School of Agriculture and Food, Professor Herbert Kronzucker. Jaqueline Graham was unable to attend the event.
Evan Spoljaric and his poster with Head, School of Agriculture and Food, Professor Herbert Kronzucker. Jaqueline Graham was unable to attend the event.

In his citation, lecturer Dr Michael Santhanam-Martin said:

“Jacque’s investigation looked at whether there are improvements occurring in the ecological condition of the Murray-Darling Basin, as a result of implementation of the Basin Plan. A key finding was that we lack robust ecological monitoring on a whole-of-basin scale. Better cooperation between Basin governments is needed to address this problem.

“Evan examined the potential for further development of an industry based on foods from Australian native plants, and whether this offers a less water-dependent agricultural future for northern-Victoria. There are a range of Australian native food crops that could be grown in northern Victoria, but both R&D on the plants themselves, and consumer awareness and market development work are needed to develop this industry.”

Stephanie Veskoukis, Nini Hoang and Anita Sayampanathan

These students explored the sustainability challenge Improving Food Security in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

You can view their poster here.

Stephanie Veskoukis receives her award from Professor Herbert Kronzucker, followed by Anita Sayampanathan and Nini Hoang. Lecturer Dr Michael Santhanam-Martin and subject coordinator Dr Sarah Frankland are pictured right.
Stephanie Veskoukis receives her award from Professor Herbert Kronzucker, followed by Anita Sayampanathan and Nini Hoang. Lecturer Dr Michael Santhanam-Martin and subject coordinator Dr Sarah Frankland are pictured right.

In his citation, lecturer Dr Michael Santhanam-Martin said:

“Their investigations covered: how agroeconomic and political policies can affect food security; how science and technology can become more accessible to smallholder farmers (using the example hydrogels) and the limitations that are evident in extension of research and development to agricultural communities so far.

“They recommend a focus on community-based approaches to extension that build the capacity of trusted community leaders, and a focus on encouraging free and competitive global markets for agricultural products.”

Vivienne Ng and Adrianne Harris

Vivienne Ng and Adrianne Harris explored the sustainability challenge Responding to changing expectations for animal agriculture.

You can view their poster here.

Vivienne Ng and Adrianne Harris, their poster and Head of the School of Agriculture and Food, Professor Herbert Kronzucker.
Vivienne Ng and Adrianne Harris, their poster and Head of the School of Agriculture and Food, Professor Herbert Kronzucker.

Subject tutor Dr Kaitlin Height said:

“Their investigations examined the welfare of layer hens under different production systems, how to maximise the welfare of Australian layer hens and the social and economic feasibility of phasing out caged egg production systems.

“They identified advantages and disadvantages of both caged and free-range systems as well as financial risks associated with a shift towards production of only free-range eggs in Australia. To reduce some of these risks, Adrianne and Vivienne recommend specific, targeted marketing strategies to support a move to more free-range egg production.”

Jesica Campo, Ebony Hunter and Kate Moloney

Jesica Campo, Ebony Hunter and Kate Moloney explored the sustainability challenge Responding to changing expectations for animal agriculture.

You can view their poster here.

Kate Moloney, Professor Herbert Kronzucker, Ebony Hunter and Jesica Campo.
Kate Moloney, Professor Herbert Kronzucker, Ebony Hunter and Jesica Campo.

In her citation, subject tutor Mee-Yung Shin said:

“Jes’ investigation identified some key economic and animal welfare implications of changing to a free-range only system for egg production in Australia, while Ebony’s investigation identified similarly themed implications of lab grown meat production. Kate’s investigation covered the changes in consumer attitudes toward animal products, and how consumers can be encouraged to adopt a meat free diet.

“A key finding from their investigations was that a reduction of total meat consumption in Australia is needed to reduce the negative impacts and poor animal welfare associated with intensive animal production. They recommend that influential stakeholders such as major supermarket chains are engaged to implement campaigns that promote alternatives to meat, and an overall reduction in meat consumption by consumers.”

Banner image: Professor Herbert Kronzucker addresses attendees from the student body and their families, industry and academia. Photos by Stuart Winthrope and Beth Barber.