Students from Croydon, Julatten, Mt Molloy and Mt Surprise attended the 3 day Youth in Sustainable Ag Camp (YISAC) to learn about innovations in agriculture and natural resource management in northern Australia. The camp bought together students, who are mostly at high school outside of the region, to reconnect with each other and the latest in sustainable agriculture in their region. The camp included tours to Bushy Creek Farm, the Henning-White Cocoa Farm, and Skybury Farm Gate looking at practical on farm applications such as rotational grazing, layered planting, biodynamics, reusing waste and solar energy. While most of the students have an interest in cattle, these farm visits showed them different aspects to agriculture that they may not have been exposed to previously.
A full program was held at Wetherby station looking at low stress stock handling, drone technology, pasture monitoring, stocking rates and mapping technology, updating students on some of the best practice techniques used in the cattle industry. Students were then able to have one on one sessions with industry mentors. The camp coincided with sale day at Mareeba where the students were introduced to the Sale Yards by Mareeba Saleyard chairman Gerry Collins and the Department of Biosecurity spoke on requirements for moving cattle and animal welfare.
The YISAC concentrated on developing leadership, communication and team work skills. A highlight of the camp being the ‘moment with a mentor’ sessions giving participants one on one sessions with a range of different mentors discussing career ambitions and opportunities. The last afternoon of YISAC was spent with Cindy Perry from the Department of Education and Training (DETE) and Leanne Kruss from Mareeba District Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association Inc (MDF&VG) discussing opportunities for courses, scholarships, traineeships and being job ready.