Full STEAM ahead – Exploring STEM through agriculture

Primary Industries Education Foundation Australia provides Australian teachers and schools with programs about agriculture, food, fibre and STEM. This video provides an overview of these programs.

Primary Industries Education Foundation Australia (PIEFA) is a national not for profit company, that assists teachers and schools with support for students to know more about where their food and fibre comes from and about the vast range of careers in agriculture. Agriculture encompasses food and fibre industries and is an excellent vehicle for teaching STEM. PIEFA has a number of programs and resources that support STEM in agriculture which are showcased in this video.

Watch 'Full STEAM ahead – Exploring STEM through agriculture' (7:54)

Luciano Mesiti, Primary Industries Education Foundation

(Duration: 7 minutes 54 seconds)


[Red and blue logo revealed reading ‘STEM 2022 On demand’.] 


[Screen reads, Luciano Mesiti, Primary Industries Education Foundation Australia, PRIMEXONE.EDU.AU.]

Hello, my name's Luciano Mesiti. I'm the Chief Executive Officer of Primary Industries Education Foundation Australia, and today I'm here to chat to you about the original STEM, food and fibre otherwise known as agriculture.

[Screen reads, PIEFA, the leader in food and fibre education.]

But what is agriculture? Well, agriculture includes the food that you eat and the fibres in your clothes and the structures of your home and your furniture and the myriad of fibres that are used in your day-to-day life.

So, it's the production and transformation of those products which you interact in your day-to-day life. Did you know that 80% of agriculture happens once that product leaves the place in which it was produced.

[Screen reads, 80% of agricultural careers are beyond the farm gate.
50% of jobs are in capital cities
Estimated 2022–23 year – Ag production equals $70 billion and increasing
Ag careers exist all along the supply chain from Paddock to Plate. Wide variety of career options.
Primary Industries Education Foundation Australia, www.primezone.edu.au, primezone, The place for all your food and fibre resources.]

Most people think that agriculture equals, an old man on a tractor and that can be further from the truth.

[Screen shows, an older man, on a tractor ploughing a paddock.]

There's nearly 50% of people involved in agriculture that are female, and they are from a diverse range of backgrounds.

[Screen shows, 5 images of women from the land.]

According to the National Farmers Federation, today there are 170,000 jobs available in agriculture, 170,000 jobs, that's just incredible. There are jobs in research, production, commerce, IT, legal, medical, chemical and the list goes on.

It's quite incredible that agriculture, food, and fibre crosses so many of the industries that we work with on a daily basis. So, the opportunities are immense in that picture of what is agriculture is also immense.

So, for every graduate from agriculture, courses like from TAFE, TAFE or from university, there are 6 jobs. So, technology is an important driver in the development of agriculture today.

So, as you can see, there are so many opportunities in terms of agriculture in the context of STEM. STEM and agriculture's actually been around for a very long time and we know that agriculture's been around since the beginning of time. Without food, where would we be? But more so today in agriculture, food, and fibre production, we wouldn't be wearing, eating, or being housed.

So, technology and the use of STEM problem solving solutions are used every minute in agriculture.

Tractors sow and harvest wheat using GPS and GIS technology. Dairy cows and beef cattle use GPS, to actually monitor and understand where are those animals located. Robots are used to monitor vegetable crops.

[Screen shows, a robot monitoring a vegetable crop, in a paddock.]

Forestry uses drones to monitor and drop seedlings into forests.

[Screen shows, a person operating a drone, in a paddock.]

Cotton, the cotton industry, uses drones to drop beneficial insects into those crops, so therefore increasing sustainability. So, I think a lot of this is about increasing efficiency and sustainability in all of those industries.

So, there's so many more examples of STEM that exist in agriculture, food, and fibre.
So very much so, there are lots of examples of STEM along that incomplete supply chain from the beginning to the plate.

Primary Industries Education Foundation has a range of programs and resources to assist educators to teach food and fibre and STEM in the classroom.

We have a website called Prime Zone, primezone.edu.au That has quite a few resources across many subject areas from K to 12.

[Screen shows, image, of the primezone website and reads, Primary Industries Lesson Plans and Education Resources.

  • Years, F–12 Lessons plans.

  • STEM, Challenge

  • AgCareerStart, Find out more

  • Farmer timer, Live Streaming

  • Primezone, Academy Online

We also have Prime Zone Academy, and they have online courses that are interactive that students can do in the classroom or in remote learning.

[Screen shows, image of the Primezone Academy website. Screen reads – Primezone Academy. Online, self-directed courses for students and teacher webinars.

We also have a virtual farm tool program called "Farmer Time." So farmertime.com.au allowing you to connect with a farmer and anyone along the supply chain with your class.

[Screen shows, image of Farmer Time website. Screen reads, Farmer Time – www.farmertime.com.au.

Farmer Time

Digitally Connecting Farmers, Fishers, and Foresters with Australian Classrooms.]

As well, we have a careers website called careerharvest.com.au, which contains careers descriptions, scholarships, day in the life of videos and so much information about careers and agriculture, food and fibre and STEM.

[Screen shows, the image of Career Harvest website and a QR code. Screen reads Career Harvest.

A project of Primary Industries Education Foundation Australia.


Thank you to the Australia Council of Deans of Agriculture for their ongoing support.

Screen shows, sample pages, Careers in Agriculture and Scholarships in Agriculture.]

We also have a gap-year program that is available right now and it's a gap-year program that we are working with the National Farmers Federation on and it's, an 8–12 month experience on a farm or an agribusiness, in agriculture and it's available for 18- to 25-year-olds.

[Screen shows, the image of the Ag Career Start website. Screen reads A paid gap-year program to kick-start your career in Ag.



AgCAREERSTART is a 10–12-month gap-year program, designed to kick-start your career in farming.

If you’re under 25 and at the start of your career, it’s a great way to learn new skills, apply your knowledge, and build your confidence.

As a participant you will:

  • Get matched with a host-farmer based on your skills and interests.

  • Work and earn for 10–12 months.

  • Receive training, mentoring and support to complete upskilling courses.

  • Enjoy access to industry events and network of industry members and peers.]

And if you go to agcareerstart.com.au, you'll find lots and lots of information there about the gap year program.

So many opportunities in agriculture and the careers.

But that's just a snapshot, of the sorts of things that we're involved with in Primary Industries Education Foundation.

So, we believe that everyone needs to know about where their food and fibre comes from and importantly, learning about this in the classroom.

Coming up on the 18th of November is National Ag Day which is a day that the National Farmer's Federation promotes to allow us to celebrate why agriculture is so important.

[Screen reads, Farmer Time: Connecting a farmer or anyone along the food and fibre supply chain with the classroom.
National Ag Day – 18 November – Farmer Time events.
Join our Newsletter to get updates – QR code link here: screen shows QR link.]

And in many ways, it's about the celebration of food and fibre and STEM. So, Primary Industries Education Foundation has a range of activities and programs that are happening not only on that day but during that week.

So, if you go to primezone.edu.au and you'll find National Ag Day 2022. You'll find a range of activities including careers Q&A sessions, teacher PDs and information and education kits that we can share with teachers and a range of pre-recorded farmer time activities that you can engage with.

[Screen shows, the image of the primezone website. Screen reads, National Ag Day, November 18, 2022.
PIEFA’S National Ag Week
Monday, November 14 to Friday, November 18, 2022.]

So next time you're eating your breakfast, lunch, and dinner, wearing your cotton or wool garment, sitting in your wooden chair, think about the STEM that was involved in getting that product, from where it began to the point that you're using it.

We need lots of STEM researchers, creative thinkers and problem solvers in agriculture, food, and fibre today. And maybe that might be you. There's so many opportunities in agriculture today and into the future and there's so many jobs available right now.

Thanks for your time today. For more information, please go to our primezone.edu.au website.

I'm very happy to help you on this journey and learning more about agriculture, food, and fibre and of course STEM.

Thank you for your time.

[Screen reads, Luciano Mesiti, Primary Industries Education Foundation Australia.

[Video concludes by displaying the NSW Government logo.]   

[End of transcript]

Return to top of page Back to top