Hobby farming, lifestyle blocks and 'tree changers' are just some of those learning all the answers thanks to a course currently on offer at Cowra TAFE campus.
The course provides an easily accessible, affordable education in basic farming skills that can be utilised on properties of all sizes. Teacher Mike Butler said the Certificate II course was a great introduction to agriculture that was already attracting students from a variety of backgrounds.
Grenfell-based student Alisha Wright said even though she was a country girl and married to a farmer, she was learning a lot. "Going to class, in a formal learning environment, and the combination of theory and practical knowledge, makes it much easier to learn than just being on the farm," Alisha said.
For another student, Richard Neate, the basic nature of the course was appealing, coming to farming late after purchasing what he called a lifestyle block five years ago and although it's not the primary source of income, he is keen to utilise his block as much possible.
"I just wanted to learn some general farming skills, including animals and crops. You realise how little you know, although I have been on the block for some time now," he said.
Mr Butler said hobby farming, or lifestyle blocks were just one factor driving the course. "The lifestyle block factor is huge - there are stacks of people out there, with hobby farms all around the perimeter of country towns."
"An important attraction of the course is that much of the class time is spent addressing and answering questions raised by the students themselves, from problems or situations they have encountered on their farms.
"The course is aimed at a general understanding and many long time farmers would also find it useful and relevant. Many of us may have been on the land for years, and done things a certain way just because that was the way taught to us years ago, but this course may provide some more information that may help."
"This course is handy for those with blocks from four acres through to 5151 acres."
Classes in the Certificate II in Agriculture are held every Tuesday evening, once a week at the Cowra TAFE campus, with the occasional Saturday morning field trip to a student's property for practical work. The cost of the course is only $164 and places are still available.
Contact Cowra TAFE for more information on the course.