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Published: 18 Dec 2020

David Russell

Applications are now open for two national agriculture masterclasses that are the first of their kind in Australia.

In 2021 the University of Tasmania is offering a brand-new Masterclass in Dairy Farm Management and will again offer a Masterclass in Horticultural Business.

The Masterclasses are supported by funding from Dairy Australia and Hort Innovation and have been developed to meet a growing demand for industry-specific training in business management and leadership to benefit the agriculture sector.

Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) Masterclass Coordinator, Dr Mark Boersma said there was high demand for the courses, which are one-of-a-kind for the agriculture industry.

“These industry-focused programs have been designed in close consultation with industry including farmers and service providers to meet a real need. For dairy it is the only industry specific accredited post-graduate course available in Australia,” Dr Boersma said.

“We know from our research that the dairy industry has identified a shortage of people and capability in farm management as one of the top four areas limiting growth of the industry over the next 10 years.

“The increasing size and complexity of dairy farm businesses has created an increased demand for people that not only have competent technical skills, but also have the capacity to move from this into roles that require well developed leadership and business skills.”

“This new offering provides an opportunity for dairy farm personnel to gain the knowledge and skills they need to effectively operate a dairy farm business in the 21st century.”

Both courses offer members of the industry the chance to boost their management skills, with online, flexible study options to cater to participants needs.

“The learning design principles of the Masterclass in Dairy Farm Management are based on the Masterclass in Horticultural Business, which is about to begin its fifth year. This course has trained over 80 graduates and has had a considerable impact on the industry,” Dr Boersma said.

David Russell, Customer Relationship and Sales Manager with Wallum Nursery in Queensland completed the Horticulture Masterclass in 2019 and said it helped improve his business practices.

"The Masterclass provided fresh insights into the horticulture industry as a whole and demonstrated how change can be a valuable asset for businesses wanting to grow into the future,” Mr Russell said.

“It's an opportunity to take a good hard look at your existing business processes and develop a skillset to make better decisions."

The industry continues to get behind the program and the breath of scholarships has increased to more than ever before, with 25 scholarships valued at $250,000, across industries including vegetables, rubus, strawberries, potatoes, nursery, macadamia, summerfruit, cherries and onions.

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