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From goats to grapes NMIT produces bumper crop of experts for alternative farming Expo

19 Jan 2009

NMIT announced today that it in addition to being a major sponsor of the 2009 Seymour Alternative Farming Expo (SAFE), it will introduce a brand new concept to the event - the NMIT Ag Zone.

Melbourne's leading northern suburbs TAFE will pool its expertise in horticulture, agriculture, land management, livestock and aquaculture to create a three-day learning event within the Ag Zone. Experts from NMIT will enter the Zone to deliver a comprehensive program of seminars and practical demonstrations on a range of topics of interest to the small holding owner or anyone interested in alternative farming or planning a career in the rural sector.

 "The NMIT Ag Zone will provide Expo visitors with the opportunity to meet and learn from experts in everything from alternative crops (such as olives and blueberries), sustainable land management, grape growing and the horse industry to boar goat farming, poultry and purchasing a first holding," says the Associate Director of NMIT's Faculty of Earth Sciences, Wayne Pappin.

"The program includes something for everyone involved in owning and operating a small holding; there are even presentations on stocking your dam with fish and pet ownership. NMIT staff will also be on hand to answer general queries, provide information about our farming-related courses and there will be a number of displays within the Ag Zone including grape pressing, breeding fish, hydroponics, and foal handling.

Where possible our staff will provide practical assistance during the sessions. For example, during the presentation on Weed and Pest Management, land owners are invited to bring along samples of weeds from their holdings. Our expert will identify these weed varieties and provide advice on how to manage them."

While the seminar program at the NMIT Ag Zone will feature a number of speakers selected from NMIT's expert academic staff, other organisations will also be represented including presenters from the Department of Primary Industries, rural industry enterprises and associations. Dr Andrew Hogan and his team from the Seymour Agricultural Society will be presenting daily practical demonstrations in the Ag Zone, focusing on hoof care (for horses), cattle management and Alpacas.

"After nearly a decade of being associated with the Seymour Alternative Farming Expo, we're very excited about the development of the NMIT Ag Zone," said Wayne Pappin.

"NMIT is a leading provider of education and training to the Victorian agricultural sector and I know that our expertise across a range of agricultural, horticultural, live stock and aquaculture operations will ensure that the program at the NMIT Ag Zone is topical and relevant, especially to owners of small holding enterprises."

The full program for the NMIT Ag Zone can be downloaded by visiting the NMIT website at

What: NMIT launches the NMIT Ag Zone at the Seymour Alternative Farming Expo
Where: King's Park, Tallarook Street, Seymour
When: 10am – 4pm 20, 21 and 22 February 2009

eymour Alternative Farming Expo (SAFE) Facts at a glance

SAFE established in 1991.
Now reputedly the most successful event of its type in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Expo focuses on advances in agronomy, animal husbandry, bio genetics and communications with an emphasis on alternative livestock and cropping enterprises.
Leading edge technology in small to medium farm machinery, implements and building systems (home and farm) is featured at SAFE.
SAFE has a strong lifestyle focus including food growing and preparation.
The Expo currently attracts 30,000 to 35,000 visitors over three days.
The event includes approximately 600 exhibitors.


Interview / Photo Opportunity

Media enquiries should be directed to the NMIT Communications Officer, James Gardener, on (03) 92691579, 0413 483 182 or

NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) - Situated on seven campuses and six training centres throughout Melbourne's north, NMIT delivers vocational training, higher education and lifelong learning capabilities for a global workforce. NMIT forges partnerships with community, industry and government to produce practical, solution orientated graduates capable of making meaningful contributions to their chosen field of endeavour.