New course for consultants will help innovation in agriculture

Published 26 June 2009

consultcourseA new postgraduate course delivered through the University of New England aims at ensuring that Australian farmers get the best possible advice on managing their farms both profitably and sustainably.

The Graduate Certificate in Rural Science (Agricultural Consulting), developed jointly by UNE and the Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation (Sheep CRC), is Australia’s first specialist course for practising or intending agricultural consultants and advisers. Delivered by distance education, the course begins in Semester 2, 2009.

UNE’s Professor Steve Walkden-Brown, the Education Program Leader for the Sheep CRC, said the new Graduate Certificate program would help the adoption of innovation in agricultural industries by enhancing the knowledge and skills of consultants and advisers.

“It will increase the capacity of these professionals to support the growth in production and profitability that the informed uptake of innovation can deliver,” Professor Walkden-Brown said.

“The program’s online delivery by distance education will allow the flexible and self-paced study necessary for people balancing full-time work and study,” he added.

The Sheep CRC’s newly appointed Industry Training Project Leader, Lu Hogan, said that the two core units of the course would deal with how to run a consultancy business, and how to provide advice to clients on a wide range of issues – including enterprise planning, resource allocation, and succession planning.

Students can choose their two elective units from a wide range of UNE disciplines including animal production, crops, pastures, agribusiness, and natural resources. Even specialist units from other universities can be included as electives.

The course can be completed in one semester of full-time study, or in one or two years of part-time study. Applications are open for enrolments in the course in Semester 2, which begins on the 27th of July.

The Sheep CRC is offering a number of scholarships for the course. These are for students who are planning to provide a service to the sheep industry.

For more information, contact the Unit Coordinator for the core consulting units, Deborah Maxwell, on (02) 6779 4262 or 0437 524 163 (

THE IMAGE displayed here expands to show (from left) Deborah Maxwell, Professor Steve Walkden-Brown, and Lu Hogan with course notes for the Graduate Certificate in Rural Science (Agricultural Consulting) program.