IN JUST THREE YEARS, Southern Cross University’s Regenerative Agriculture course was named the nation’s premier agricultural degree.
The Good Universities Guide has published its series with the Southern Cross University course – this is the first in the world to teach regenerative ag – List all ag degrees based on students’ ratings of their overall educational experience.
SCU Senior Lecturer Hanabeth Luke was thrilled that the young course was recognized as the best in the country.
“What sets this Ag course aside is that it is based on a different philosophy of how things work“Said Dr. Luke.
“We have a holistic philosophy – we want to understand how the farm, the culture or the production system interacts with the natural environment and landscape.”
Another important distinguishing feature of the degree is the integration of the degree into a Bachelor of Science.
“Our students are also learning the science that underpins agriculture,” said Dr. Hatch.
Soil ecology and resilience to climate change are a big focus of the course, and indigenous knowledge was threaded throughout the course
There is a lot of hands-on learning with research projects on inter-species catch crop cultivation and the construction and measurement of soil carbon.
“We tell our students that there are a number of practices here that have a strong and long-standing evidence base, and here are some new and emerging,” said Dr. Hatch.
“It is up to us as researchers to look at what farmers are doing and test those assumptions.”
Of the 300 students, around one third already farms farms full-time, two thirds come from different agricultural backgrounds.
âThat means that a third remains completely new in agriculture, which is the exciting thing for me. It means we bring new people into the industry and stimulate their imaginations, âsaid Dr. Hatch.
“It’s a broad section of the population with a nice mix of ages. There are also many mature-age students.”
Dr. Luke said the Regenerative Ag students were “the most dedicated students” she taught.
“You bring so much to the course and it was a process of learning from each other,” she said.
âOf course the lecturers know a lot, but so do the students. Often it’s about how we can solve this problem together?
“It really creates a positive and exciting culture among the students.”
The first wave of students will soon be completing the three-year course and Dr. Luke is expecting they are in great demand.
“Given the current climate“There are going to be some really important places for students to come in,” she said.
âIn addition to their conventional understanding of soil and agriculture, they have the ability to think critically about the context of each farm they work with.
âThey will be equipped with different thought models, different assessment methods and different regenerative practices.
“I really believe they can change Australia and help build resilience with new ideas to transform the Ag landscape.”
The history Renewable agriculture course awarded as the best agricultural degree in the country first appeared on Farm Online.