University of Melbourne Magazine

Land rites

  • Deputy Dean of the new faculty, Associate Professor Brian Leury, points to the overlap between agriculture and veterinary science, and says combining them in one faculty will help students address crucial challenges in future food production, including climate change, limited or scarce resources and developing markets.

    “Down the track with more students enrolling – and we envisage enrolments will go up – the number of specialisations will probably grow as graduates are required to work in an increasing number of important areas,” he says.

    “A lot of what we are doing now is about addressing at a scientific level how we can meet those challenges, but equally important – if not more important – is the number and capability of people who will be qualified to work on them.

    “We are seeing now that the number of employment opportunities exceeds the number of agriculture graduates. We need to position ourselves to produce very capable graduates who can meet the challenges of the future across a number of key areas.

    “The Bachelor of Agriculture has a Production Animal Health major that a lot of students are undertaking with a view to applying for the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, and I think that’s also opening their eyes to the importance of livestock.

    “I envisage that not only are we going to have more agriculture graduates who will increase our capacity to produce food through research and policy, but we will also have more veterinary science graduates who will be involved in food production.”

    Aisha Ozaksoy backs up the Deputy Dean’s belief. “In second year you can choose whether to go more into either animal or crop production, and I’ve chosen to follow the animal pathway,” she says.

    “They’ve predicted there will be a food shortage within 50 years, so tackling that problem is definitely a priority.”

    – Iain Gillespie

    Read more about the new Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences.