AGRICULTURAL teachers from across Australia have been in Yanco and the wider MIA this week to discover more skills to further hone their craft.
The group was attending the National Association of Agricultural Educators biennial conference which was based in Yanco and Leeton.
The idea of the 2020 conference, which concluded on Thursday, was for teachers across the country to learn about the Murrumbidgee and Coleambally irrigation areas, particularly how they are water efficient, food and fibre producing areas.
This also tied in with the theme of "just add water".
Teachers gave up their own school holiday time to take part and, as a result, learned simple teaching methods from the gathering of resources and contacts from other teaching professionals to take back to their schools and students.
One of the organisers of the event was Carl Chirgwin, who said 90 people took part in the event.
"In each of the presentations, members of the conference had the opportunity to add to it by seeking clarification with a focus from their own teaching within the context," he said.
"Teachers were able to network with a number of other teachers from across Australia, increasing their contacts and resource-sharing practices."
The conference included tours of various facilities, including the Yanco Agricultural Institute to learn about current rice trials, a worldskills/farming Olympics challenge, kayaking on the Murrumbidgee River, visits to Southern Cotton, demonstrations, a farm tour at Yenda, taking in the water works at Casella Wines and more.
The group also completed workshops that focused on plants, hay making, pasture renovation, irrigation techniques and many others.
Mr Chirgwin said there was no better time to showcase the region, particularly given the current conditions farmers and growers are enduring whether it be weather or the politics surrounding water.
"The idea is for teachers to learn from these new experiences and go back to their classrooms and teach them there," he said.
The conference was no doubt rewarding for those taking part, but the wider region has also benefited.
Mr Chrigwin estimated around $80,000 had been injected into the region's economy as a result of the event.
"It's really great when you put it in those terms as well," he said.
"We had great support from local businesses in terms of sponsoring the conference and Leeton Shire Council have been fantastic as well."
The agricultural teachers will now spend the last days of their break busily preparing for the 2020 school year back in their home towns.
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