This year's crop of Bachelor of Agricultural Business Management
graduates from Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Orange will feature more pony-tails than stubble, reflecting the fact that more women are joining the industry than ever before.
"I have lectured in agriculture in Orange for the past 10 years and when I started the course would have been made up of 80 per cent men and 20 per cent women," she said.
"But the role of women in agriculture has been well-publicised in that time, and the perception of the industry has evolved so people don’t only see it as being about that hands-on, out-in-the-paddock activity anymore.
"The industry includes managerial, accounting, marketing roles and more; people are seeing agriculture as a profession instead of just physical labour."
Graduating student Ms Isabella Williams typifies the trend; she grew up on a family-run property near Wagga Wagga but has always wanted to be more involved in the "business of agriculture" and so she chose CSU’s Bachelor of Agricultural Business Management degree as a path to a career in finance.
"Farming is what I have always loved and I always pictured myself being in the banking industry and working with farmers and producers," she said.
"I actually went to our bank manager before I enrolled with a list of the subjects involved to ask whether this was a suitable course to help me achieve that goal."
Ms Williams has already secured a job with an Australian bank, and Dr Telfser said every one of her classmates have also found full-time employment.
"Students have gone on to work as farm managers, in quarantine and customs, for government departments, in banking and finance, marketing and a range of other careers," Dr Telfser said.
"We have a 100 per cent graduate employment rate this year which is normal for this course, because it involves such strong links with industry.
"There are very few specialised agricultural business management degrees in the country and a growing need for agricultural business professionals so our graduates are in very high demand."
In addition to being offered at CSU in Orange and via distance education, the Bachelor of Agricultural Business Management degree will be offered at CSU in Wagga Wagga and CSU in Wangaratta from 2013.