A UNIVERSITY course has opened up a new world of possibilities for Keith Walker.
The former Local Land Services (LLS) senior land officer is one of 280 students enrolled in Southern Cross University's (SCU) Bachelor of Science (Regenerative Agriculture) course, which has given him new information to pass on to producers looking to make a change.
The course began in February 2020 and has since grown to have one of the biggest intakes of agriculture students in the country.
"I think the big thing I have gotten out of it has been learning about the benefits of tying environmental management in with production," Mr Walker said.
"It truly amazes me that we know more about the stars in the sky than we do about the soil beneath our feet.
"There's no doubt in my mind that soil will be the next frontier for us in terms of education and this course is terrific for helping with that.
"In my opinion, it is also fantastic to see what is out there for our young people, because with all of the technological developments out there, the world is truly their oyster."
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Despite finishing up LLS at the end of 2021, Mr Walker said he was eager to continue imparting the wisdom he was gaining from the course with producers in Queensland through his new role with Southern Queensland Landscapes.
"Everyone in agriculture is different and I think it is such a complex sector that it almost a bit like a spider web in that it is entangled and goes off in all sorts of different directions," he said.
"A lot of people within the industry like to try and put everything into a box and label it in some way.
"I'm not like that because I think regenerative agriculture is more of an outcome than a methodology or a steadfast principal.
"There's a lot of merit in a variety of different management styles and I think it's really important for people to respect other people's approaches, regardless if its the same as their own or if it's different."
As the popularity of SCU's course continues to grow, with more than 70 postgraduate students studying a Graduate Certificate in Regenerative Agriculture, the institution is seeking to expand.
Recently, Regenerative Agriculture Course Co-ordinator Dr Hanabeth Luke announced SCU would offer a new Graduate Diploma in Regenerative Agriculture to start in March 2022.
"My own research with the Soil CRC shows that declining soil productivity and increasingly unpredictable weather are two of the greatest issues faced by farmers today," Dr Luke said.
"Now more than ever there is a greater need to equip graduates with the skills and knowledge to help farmers lead the way in building resilience across our farming systems, while tackling the soil and climate crisis."
The graduate diploma can be completed over one year of full-time study or part-time over two years.
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