National Farmers' Federation

Immersive paddock to port tour builds Australia-China links

University students from China and Australia have hit the road together this week to experience the best of agriculture and regional Australia. The tour is part of the China-Australia Youth Agriculture Program, delivered by the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) in partnership with GrainGrowers.

NFF Chief Executive Officer Tony Mahar said the 19 students from universities and colleges across Australia were all studying an agriculture related degree and the program would take them out of the classroom to give them firsthand insight about what they were learning.

“This is an immersive program focused on bringing together students from different backgrounds and different cultures who are all connected by a strong interest in agriculture and an interest in the China-Australia relationship,” he said.

“This is a great opportunity to present our industry to an international audience and showcase our sustainability and innovation. Demonstrating the care, quality and safety standards that goes into Australian food and fibre is important for future trade networks.”

This first tour has seen participants travel across Victoria from Birchip to Horsham to Warrnambool, Geelong and places in between. Participants visited grain, dairy, chicken and vegetable farms, toured processing and innovation facilities as well as enjoying the silo art, unique townships and diverse landscapes only found in the bush.

“They met people who live and breathe regional life and literally got a taste for it eating at the local each night,” Mr Mahar said.

Reflecting on what they’d seen this week, participating students said the tour had opened their eyes to Australian agriculture.

“This tour has been a transformative experience, creating new networks and cultural ties. It’s also been great to learn about the diversity of Australian agriculture” said Canberra student, Brooke Zuidema.

“This has been a really informative tour of the connections between paddock and port. It’s given good insights I wouldn’t get at university,” said QLD agriculture science student, Binyin “Patrick” Di.

The program, funded by the National Foundation for Australia-China Relations, is being delivered in partnership by the NFF and GrainGrowers Limited (GGL).

Brett Hosking, a Victorian farmer and Chair of GrainGrowers said the tour was a practical way to inform and engage a new generation.

“GrainGrowers is proud to support this program and to connect growers with students and hear firsthand their ambitions for agriculture that really aligns with our focus on profitability and sustainability of Australian grain farmers,” Mr Hosking said.

“I’m certain the students will be amazed by the diverse and exciting careers in ag that the grains industry has to offer! It’s great to show some of the students from one of our biggest trading partners first-hand how Australian grains are grown.” 

The next tour will run 17 – 21 April 2023 and will focus on New South Wales. For more information visit nff.org.au/programs/australia-china-agricultural-youth-program/