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Ashburton College’s Stephen Millichamp, James List and Kayla Williams were among the 40 teachers and agricultural industry representatives to take part in the Teachers Day Out event earlier this month run by New Zealand Young Farmers.
They visited New Zealand Dairy Collaborative (a new milk powder blending and packaging facility in Ashburton), the sheep and beef property of Chris and Anne-Marie Allen at Ashburton Forks near Mt Somers, Barkers of Geraldine and the potato farm of siblings Charlotte and James Bowan at Orari, suppliers of product to the family business Heartland Potato Chips.
Mr List, who this year joined Ashburton College’s agricultural teaching staff, says it was a chance to ‘‘see what the industry is doing and where it’s going’’.
He said there was a lot more innovation on farm, changes in farming practice and new ideas.
‘‘It’s where we’re going,’’ he said, with more collaboration between the secondary school and industry representatives from the likes of Ravensdown, Midlands Apiaries and agronomists from agri seed companies.
He said representatives were invited to speak to agricultural students about working in the agricultural industry, allowing them to learn about other job opportunities — not necessarily as a farmer or a farm worker.
They are looking for ‘‘smart kids to work in the industry,’’ he said.
Also on the field trip was Ashburton’s Callum Burrell, who grew up a ‘‘townie’’ from Tauranga, but now works as an agri manager at Ravensdown, based in Mid Canterbury.
He got the chance to visit a friend’s farm when he was 10 years old and never looked back. It lead to his career in the rural industry.
The bus trip took the teachers through a range of business operations in the primary sector to provide more awareness of the huge number of opportunities in the industry. They in turn could take their lessons back to the classroom.
The day ended with a discussion with a panel of young people in the district working in the food and fibre sector.
Other schools represented were Mount Hutt College, Geraldine High School, Rangiora High School, Oxford Area School, St Andrews College, Beaconsfield (Primary School), Christchurch Boys' High School, Lincoln High School, Linwood College Technology Centre, Darfield High School, Geraldine High School, Twizel Area School, Kaikoura High School, Timaru Girls' High and Haeata Community Campus.