“Don’t you think it’s rather funny that you are taking these kids into the city to learn about the country?” kidded one of our teachers as we started to board the bus for Corinda, west of Brisbane. We were on our way to “Moo Baa Crunch” a fantastic day organised by Agforce QLD.
On first thoughts, yes; I was looking at quite a few hats and boots that no one would bat an eyelid to around this area, but could make one stand out in the ‘burbs’. But on second thought, it just goes to show that assumptions are often a poor indicator of reality.
Our school is about an hour from Brisbane, close to Gatton University and it’s catchment area is wide. Although we are situated in an area surrounded by fields of vegetables, beef cattle and the occasional dairy, many of our students have little experience with agriculture. Interestingly enough, I am also witness to a growing trend of students who have not been privee to growing up on a farm, expressing a desire to pursue a career in agriculture. It also has to be said that there are some students off farms who have a desire not to continue, or who wish to pursue a career in something else, who may then come back and continue farming.
AgForce, QLD’s peak organisation representing Queensland’s rural producers, recognises the need to work with the young to ensure the state’s contributing efforts to produce food and fibre are continued. Through the promotion of programs like “Moo Baa Crunch”, students are able to see the incredible range of careers that agriculture offers. Through having the event in the city at one of the best kept secrets – the school farm at Corinda, families can come along and gain a further appreciation of the incredible efforts the industry go to produce our food and fibre.
The farm at Corinda State High about fifty years old and has facilities that an Agriculture teacher could only dream about(we have only established our little area over a year ago!). The farm is run by Janet Cleary, head of Agriculture, plus another teacher and an incredible gentleman who volunteers and runs many of the day-to-day activities. Janet is like me, a city girl with a love for the subject, and I only wish there were more of her type around when I went to school to inspire me with her passion for the subject. The school runs its own stud cattle and sheep, and has a large areas of vegetables, a shearing shed, poultry galore and is truly a farming oasis in the busy city. The students were incredibly proud of their farm and it showed in their dedication as ambassadors during ‘Moo Baa Crunch”, guiding groups around to different activities.
There was truly something for every student to consider – from careers within the Bureau of Meteorology(Left top) to the racing industry (Above middle and right)
We learnt about careers in agribusiness, land conservation and management, and the importance of bees to the production of many of the foods we take for granted, like melons, cucumbers and pumpkins.
We wanted to adopt Tim Emery, a beef extension officer (below) working for the DPI in Roma. His passion for his work within the beef industry particularly impressed some of my students, a couple of whom wish to pursue a career in this direction. I was also so impressed by the way my students talked at ease with Tim, as they did with other adults, in regards to their own career aspirations. Well done guys!
It was lovely for the students to meet so many inspiring people, from so many different facets of agriculture, from scientists to shearers to food technologists. Each of them took the time to really find out about the students and encouraged them. This is some of my students(Above right) talking with a lovely lady called Jan McIntyre, an Agforce volunteer and formerly from a beef and sheep property near Longreach. She talked to them of how she misses the lifestyle and offered them some ideas on where to look for avenues into the grazing industries.
The showstopper award of the afternoon went to the two gentlemen talking about the various careers available in the wool industry and the shearing demonstration that followed. I think they need to go into the teaching profession for their ability to absolutely captivate a teenage audience, a tough task indeed!
I can’t tell you enough how important events like these are for the future of agriculture. Never underestimate the power of influence that individuals as proud representatives can make to the promotion of this diverse industry. I truly hope it stays a future event we can look forward to each year. This is our second AgForce event and the kids added as they went out the gate that maybe our school might host it one day, and that they would come back to represent some of the industries they aspire to work in. For me, that would be the absolute ultimate!!!
We thank all the folks who gave up their time to inspire the students, the wonderful Janet Cleary, her staff and amazing students, and finally, Ag Force, including Wendy, Alison, Beth and Ashleigh(get well soon!). Hope it is the start of something big!