Field trips have been a vital part of student learning in the first semester of the new agriculture degree at Muresk Institute near Northam.

The CSU Bachelor of Agricultural Business Management is being offered in a partnership between Charles Sturt University and the C Y O’Connor Institute.It combines theory with practical examples from across WA and Australia wide. 

The field trips are part of the agribusiness systems and professional skills subjects. They involved visits to a piggery, abattoir, butcher shop and supermarket to follow processes in the supply chain from ‘paddock to plate’. 

Indicative of the feelings of the students, Emily Miller from Beverley said the visits were invaluable in providing an insight into agribusiness supply chains.  “They gave us a greater understanding of the pork production beyond the farm gate. “It’s great to see the amount of support for the degree at Muresk with so many businesses willing to share their knowledge with us,” she said. 

Agribusiness Systems lecturer, Dr James Fisher, said the pig industry was being used as an example of a value chain in agriculture. Students were now researching and preparing reports on a value chain of their choice. Among those they had chosen were production of lamb chops, bread, T-bone steak, wheat based breakfast cereals, muesli and noodles, he said.

Aspects being studied included stages in production, marketing, regulations, research and development, allied services, quality control and the influences of consumer demand. Elements of on farm production systems were also covered, Dr Fisher said.

In a second subject, Professional Skills, students are gaining an understanding of factors affecting agricultural production. During a visit to a farm owned and operated by Maitland, Margaret and Nathan Davey at Konnongorring, they saw how these progressive farmers were integrating natural resource management and production on their farm. This builds on agricultural principles covered in class.

Students are currently half way through their first session of the degree which ends in June. Other subjects they are currently studying include Law, Economics and professional skills.

The C Y O’Connor Institute acknowledges the partnership with the Muresk Institute and the support of the Department of Training and Workforce Development and the Government in providing the transitional funding to establish the degree program.

TOP: During a visit to the piggery at Muresk Institute students from the CSU degree program (L-R) Nicholas Hardie (Falcon), David Storer (Meckering), Tahlia McSwain (Chapman Hill), Mitchell Rowe (High Wycombe), Verity-Jane Dolton (Dandaragan), Gary Tooke (Noggerup)Ethan Caldwell (Katanning) and Mitchell Hutton (Morawa).
BELOW: Students undertaking the CSU Bachelor of Agricultural Business Management during the piggery visit, Courtney Humphrey (York) and Brianna Hindle (Ballidu).