Yoghurt doesn't grow on trees: ag minister
Yoghurt doesn't grow on trees and cotton isn't made from animals.
That's the message under-fire Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie wants to send to Australian children through a $5 million grants program.
The embattled Nationals deputy leader is embroiled in a scandal over another grants program - a $100 million kitty which favoured marginal seats when she was sports minister before last year's election.
Despite days of pressure to resign, Senator McKenzie is digging in and promoting a new taxpayer-funded scheme to bridge the city-country divide.
"I don't want kids to think cotton is made from animals or that yoghurt grows on trees," she said in a statement on Thursday.
The Kids To Farm program was part of an coalition election commitment to bring children and farms closer together.
State farming bodies are eligible to apply for the grants, with other organisations free to partner with them.
Senator McKenzie said high value should be put on educating young people about agriculture and future jobs in farming.
That includes promoting career opportunities in new technologies, many of which could risk traditional employment in the sector.
"Our future workforce will operate drones, use satellite technology, and deploy precision agriculture techniques," Senator McKenzie said.
She said it was vital for young people to understand the contribution agriculture makes to Australia's way of life, regional communities and the economy.
Grants applications opened on Thursday and close on February 26.
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