World first regenerative ag major offered

By: Andrew Hobbs

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Online Bachelor’s degree will take a whole-of-system approach to food production and farm management.

World first regenerative ag major offered
Dr Hanabeth Luke is course co-ordinator of the Regenerative Agriculture major in Southern Cross University’s Bachelor of Science.


Southern Cross University is offering a regenerative agriculture major to science students in a move it says will help land managers better tackle the impacts of climate change.

Hanabeth Luke, the course co-ordinator of the new Bachelor of Science major, says the degree offers students a different way of thinking about land management.

"This degree is about teaching students to work with the land to better support natural systems, so farming can become more resilient, supported by those natural systems," she says.

"It is about shifting the question from: ‘My soil is not performing so well, what do I put on it?’, to: ‘how can I support the natural processes of my land, so that they can support me better – for the long term?’"

Dr Luke says she expects the course will appeal both to school leavers and people already in agricultural industries.

"We’ve had over 250 inquiries so far, with a great number of people who are saying the same thing: whatever we’ve been doing on the land is clearly not working, it’s just not sustainable – and we need to go beyond that," she says.

One UK university is helping run a project that recently farmed one hectare without a human setting foot into the paddock. Click here to read more

Southern Cross University’s Regenerative Agricultural Alliance (RAA) helped to bring together leading researchers and practitioners to help develop the new major, including consultations with Dark Emu author Bruce Pascoe, Call of the Reed Warbler author Charles Massy, researcher Terry McCosker and Kerry Cochrane, who the university says has been instrumental in designing the degree.

RAA founder and Southern Cross University director of Strategic Projects Lorraine Gordon says she is "ecstatic" to see the major come to fruition.

"The way we teach agriculture hasn’t changed in 30 years so it’s about time we taught students to think in a holistic manner and use all the tools in the box to solve the very complex problems we face in managing our landscapes," she says.

A Bachelor of Science from Southern Cross University takes three years full time and six years part time to complete, with on-farm practical sessions and field-based residential placements also included in the course.

Classes begin in February and will be delivered entirely online by the Lismore-based university, with mid-year applications also available for a July intake.

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