New short courses created to fill demand for agriculture experts

As fresh water plans for farms become government mandated, Massey has created more agriculture short courses in order to meet the demand for training in this area.

On September 3, the government introduced new rules under the new National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management, and one of these changes was the requirement for almost all farms in New Zealand to have a fresh water plan.

Professor of Dairy Production Systems, Danny Donaghy, says these short courses move away from the traditional “hours and hours of online lectures” and will instead focus on flexibility, new technologies and case studies.

“With many of these people already working jobs, it’s not feasible to have long, full-time courses. These short courses will help upskill and train people to feel confident in delivering these plans.” 

Building on an array of established short courses such as Sustainable Nutrient Management, the School has created two new courses; Introduction to New Zealand Farm Systems, and Intermediate Farm Environment Planning, with a third course, Advanced Farm Environment Planning, due to be developed in 2021.  

“There was a real concern in the industry that there was a lack of people who were qualified to develop plans like this – so we set out to design courses to fill this gap.”

Professor Danny Donaghy and Dr Lucy Burkitt

The group received funding to support the development of the courses from the New Zealand Fertiliser Association, and were assisted by a reference group comprising industry and government. 

Introduction to New Zealand Farm Systems is a newly created, six-week course for those who are new to the industry and want to understand implications of their decisions further down the line. 

“It’s really important to understand the farmer’s goals and values so you can actually work well with them to produce a successful plan,” Professor Donaghy says.

Intermediate Farm Environmental Planning builds on important concepts for fresh water plans. 

Dr Lucy Burkitt, who is leading the creation of this course, says that the teaching will introduce students to the concepts and components of a freshwater Farm Environment Plan.

“We’ll be using an online environment and digital resources to guide students through the development of a desktop Farm Environment Plan.”

Participants from industry and government will be asked to provide feedback as Massey trials these new courses as pilots through 2021.

The courses are already being received well, with industry players keen to get involved and courses into 2021 already receiving enrolments.

More detail, including enrolments, can be found here.  


Related articles

Primary industries and Massey Agriculture celebrate student success
Improving water quality in King Country key aim for Massey professors
Global forum highlights Massey’s leadership in sustainable agriculture development
Workshop tackles global look at nutrient loss and water quality