New 'spin-off' for agricultural studies at Crystal Brook

Students have been given a dose of agriculture up close and personal.

They mingled with livestock and heard about the dramas of growing crops.

The occasion was the first Crystal Brook Schools Agricultural Education Day on August 8 at the showgrounds, thanks to the North Western Agricultural Society.

It was a spin-off from the Crystal Brook Show that was held the next day.

About 80 agricultural studies students from Gladstone High School and Port Pirie's St Mark's College attended.

They listened to presentations by a Viterra representative on grain, Ian Rowett, of Marrabel, on sheep and David Leese, of Jamestown, on cattle.

"You are always looking to how you can evolve your country show," said the show's beef cattle convenor, Kendall Jackson.

"It was a way to educate the children in grain, sheep and cattle.

"It allowed the time to actually talk about what is happening rather than it just happening at the Royal Adelaide Show or Crystal Brook Show or any show.

"It gave an understanding of why showing is important and what makes good grain, good wool or good beef animals."

Kadina-based Narungga MP Fraser Ellis represented Primary Industries Minister Tim Whetstone at the showgrounds. He said he wanted to "arrest" the surge of young people from the country to the city.

His vision includes offering university and certificate programs in agribusiness, animal genetics, crop and pasture science, conservation and land management in the country.

This would entice young people into primary industry and agricultural careers.

Meanwhile, he said a grains industry "blueprint" was being developed by the state government.

"We are working with growers, traders, exporters, processors, researchers and transport and bulk handlers to get the best out of this blueprint," he said.

"South Australia has an estimated 4500 grain farmers and this strategy will grow agribusiness and increase jobs.

"Our red meat and wool industry is SA's biggest manufacturing employer, supporting 30,000 jobs, so there are plenty of exciting things happening in agriculture."

He said the students would learn about grain, sheep and beef cattle and it showed the future of the industries was in good hands.

"This is so vital for regional areas and SA as a whole," he said.

"I commend all involved in creating this new lead-up event to the Crystal Brook Show, particularly show president Ashley Redden and his team.

"Your efforts will keep the spotlight on the value of agriculture and development of regional areas to ensure rural communities not only remain but thrive and to show what exciting careers are on offer to our young entrepreneurs."