Forget broadband - where's the money for broadacre?

11 November 2011

Whilst taking a well-earned coffee break from their research on soil carbon, Faculty of Agriculture PhD students Kanika Singh and Brendan Malone had an unexpected brush with Prime Minister Gillard. During their chat, Kanika and Brendan took the opportunity to congratulate Prime Minister Gillard on the successful passage of the carbon price legislation through the upper house.

Prime Minister Gillard with Kanika Singh and Brendan Malone
Prime Minister Gillard with Kanika Singh and Brendan Malone

Presented with this rare opportunity- a direct line to the woman at the top- Ms Singh went straight to the point; emphasizing the fundamental work done by agricultural scientists dedicated to improving food, water and environmental quality for all Australians. Ms Singh pointed out how, ironically, despite its vital importance this field was suffering declining student numbers and more efforts were needed to promote agricultural science to young people to address the decline in the profession. Ms Singh and Mr Malone were both delighted to discover that Prime Minister Gillard has a close relative who is an agricultural scientist.

These concerns echo Chief Scientist Ian Chubb who at a recent Sydney University Teaching and Learning forum focused on the declining numbers of agricultural scientists, identifying it as one of the educational priority areas needing attention.