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Studying in Tasmania’s agricultural heartland

James Adams is part of the first-ever cohort of students who will study a degree in Agricultural Science from Launceston.

Image: Agricultural Science students on a field trip to Hops Products Australia (HPA), Bushy Park. 

Earlier this year, 29-year-old James Adams started the University of Tasmania’s Agricultural Science with Honours degree in his hometown of Launceston. Over the next few years, James will witness the transformation of the Inveresk campus, including a state-of-the-art research facility, and the development of a new Tasmanian Agricultural Precinct at Newnham.

With the inclusion of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment Tasmania, the Precinct will combine agricultural science, water management, industry development and biosecurity functions located in a single precinct.

"I had seen the degree offered previously but put it in the back of my head as it was based in Hobart, and I wasn’t in a position to be able to move," James said. "The fact that everything is going to be up here in Launceston definitely contributed to my decision to study Ag Science at the University of Tasmania."

James was born in Launceston and moved to Ireland with his parents as a young child. He returned to Launceston as a 25-year-old and now considers the region home, with extended family living nearby and his partner who works locally as a teacher. Being able to study and work in the region was an important factor in his decision to study agriculture.

"After returning to Launceston, I worked in a restaurant for three years which is where I developed a passion for local produce and an interest in learning more about agriculture and science," he said.

Bachelor of Agricultural Science with Honours student James Adams

Working in the restaurant introduced me to small-scale producers and this gave me an interest and appreciation of the work that happens to bring food to the table. Everyone I spoke to loved what they were doing working in the agriculture sector.

"I also love the outdoors and want a career where I can combine these things and learn how to take care of Tasmania, Australia and the world. Moving forward there will be a big onus for people working in the agriculture industry to be climate savvy and I’d like to be able to contribute to that."

James believes agriculture is becoming more visible in the broader community due to the rise of social media platforms like Instagram that are giving people a glimpse of the diversity and breadth of the industry and possible jobs.

"More people have access to see what agriculture is all about," he said "You have small-scale farmers posting everything on Instagram and you can see that and you can speak to farmers through social media, which makes it more accessible to the broader community.

"There’s still more that can be done to change the perception of agriculture and let people know there’s a lot more to it than they might assume. I think it is moving in a positive direction and farmers will play a big role in what the world will look like in the future, especially with adapting to climate change."

TIA Director Professor Michael Rose said TIA looked forward to having a stronger presence in the region with the relocation of its headquarters to the new Agricultural Precinct expected to be launched in 2024.

The headquartering of TIA in Northern Tasmania will enable the delivery of our flagship science and agricultural courses from Launceston and strengthen our regional capacity for industry collaboration and high-impact research.

"We want to create opportunities for more Tasmanians to study closer to home and have designed our course offering to align with the unique demands of the Tasmanian agricultural industry. This year is the first time that domestic students can commence a Bachelor of Agricultural Science with Honours degree in Launceston and complete the subsequent years of their study from this location.

"We are delivering a hands-on learning experience to our students, leveraging the industry that is located near to Launceston along with the world-leading research that TIA conducts."

Find out more about the Bachelor of Agricultural Science with Honours