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Lambs steal the show on Ashburton students’ visit


Lambs steal the show on Ashburton students’ visit to a local farm

Newborn lambs have been used to help explain career opportunities in the agri-food sector to Ashburton students.

Almost 30 students from Ashburton Intermediate School visited Stephen Blain’s family farm at Ashton last Friday.

The visit was part of a major national project putting students from 100 primary schools onto sheep and beef farms.

“I really enjoyed getting to cuddle the lambs,” said student Charlotte McLaren.

The education programme is funded by the Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP) and delivered by NZ Young Farmers.

“We want to get the industry on the radar of students and teachers, so they’re aware of the career opportunities,” said RMPP’s Di Falconer.

Students had to identify types of wool suitable for making textiles and help drench sheep.

“Most of them were a bit nervous to begin with and it was great to see them eventually get stuck in and giving it a go,” said Stephen’s partner Mary Holmes.

“They loved the hands-on parts of the visit. It’s a chance to ask lots of questions about the resources they’re studying in class.”

Mary’s been involved in a number of school visits to farms through her role with NZ Young Farmers’ school engagement team.

“This was my first time hosting a visit. It was fantastic to experience it from a different perspective,” said Mary.

The Blain’s main focus is growing crops, but the property also runs 2,000 sheep and a few beef cattle.

“Students got to sit in a modern, high-tech tractor and see the huge silos we use to store grain,” said Mary.

“Most of the students aren’t from farms and this project is a fun, interactive way to show them the wide variety of jobs available.”

“A long list of professions help grow a sheep and turn it into delicious cuts of meat or create carpet or clothing from its wool,” said Mary.

New Zealand’s red meat sector will need to find an extra 33,000 workers by 2025 to replace people who will retire or exit the industry.

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