This 'Programs' section contains information about the major areas of activity where the Department of Agriculture has assisted development of South Australia, national and international agriculture industries. While initially established to develop and introduce new farming technology and improve the welfare of rural communities, the Department of Agriculture has played a key role in sustainable resource management and improving the economic competitiveness of agricultural industries. Some key activities includes:
Prior to the creation of the Department of Agriculture in 1902, the South Australian government relied on the Agricultural Bureaux movement (1888) and the research and teaching work at Roseworthy Agricultural College (1882) for the dissemination of information to people in the agricultural, livestock and horticultural industries.
Roseworthy Agricultural College was headed up by a Professor of Agriculture (Professor J.D. Custance appointed 1882) who taught the sciences of analytical chemistry, physiology and agriculture to help farmers overcome many of the problems they faced. The 1,000 acre model farm at Roseworthy Agricultural College was used to deliver descriptive lessons on soil, plants, trees, animals, manures and machinery to pupils.
The Department of Agriculture expanded this role of collecting and disseminating information to people. Government experiment farms were initially the main method used for development and delivery of agricultural technology to the South Australian farming community. Experiment farms and orchards were established in 1905 at Parafield, Murray Bridge, and Kybybolite (South East), and in 1908 at Turretfield (Barossa Valley), Hackney, Blackwood, Loxton and Veitch (northern Murray mallee).
A network of offices was subsequently established in districts across the state, reaching a peak in the early 1980’s. Staff delivered a range of services including: