Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, biosecurity and good hygiene are things the world learned to take notice of.
In Tasmania, those skills are being taught to the next generation of farmers, with biosecurity and hygiene practices taught across the network of Tasmania's farm schools.
Primary Industries Minister Guy Barnett said the government, along with the Tasmanian Agriculture Education Network, were ensuring that these practices were embedded in students' learning from a young age, to carry with them throughout education and career.
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"We need to make sure pests, diseases and weeds are kept out of our state and of course during the past few months we have seen the impact of disease, which has highlighted the importance of bioscurity measures," Mr Barnett said. Tasmania's status as an island state, along with its clean and green image, was vitally important to the state's producers and biosecurity measures are key to ensuring that reputation remains strong.
Mr Barnett said biosecurity was a big threat to Tasmania's primary producers, which was shown during the recent incursion of the Queensland Fruit Fly.
Other significant threats Tasmania has faced in recent years is two /outbreaks of blueberry rust, along with the development of Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome or POMS. Both of those have had devastating and long-lasting effects on their respective industries and the farmers who grow the product. Mr Barnett said it was pleasing to see strong biosecurity messages embedded in the school curriculum at Hagley Farm School.
At the school biosecurity practices include: record keeping of visitors, display and maintenance of signage, boot and hand wash cleaning stations and established reporting procedures.
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The field study centre teachers have also developed a variety of biosecurity learning experiences for students with the aim of building awareness and understanding of biosecurity throughout the community. This work has been reflected in the revitalised Food and Fibre Production curriculum planning guides developed by the Education Department and TAEN - Revitalising School Farms.
"These simple measures help protect the school farm against biosecurity threats and serve as a practical reminder that biosecurity should be taken seriously and is a key part of agricultural business," he said.
"Good biosecurity is a shared responsibility and the collaborative work at Hagley School Farm and across the TAEN is a great example of government, industry and the community working together."