Restrictions impact school farm operation, Rotary told
A Brisbane Water Secondary College teacher and Year 12 student have told the Rotary Club of Umina Beach about the operation of the college's Umina campus farm this year.
Agriculture-science teacher Mr Richard McKay said that the coronavirus restrictions had impacted agriculture students more than mainstream students.
"Covid changed everything," he said.
All school excursions were stopped. Rural shows and the Royal Ag Show were cancelled.
No pre-school, primary or high school visits to the Ag Farm were allowed and school camps were severely limited.
No camping out on farms was allowed unless the accommodation was structured with managed, enforced covid rules.
However, he said the school had secured grants to rebuild the stockyards and create a safer more spacious work place for the students and the animals.
He said the next project was to upscale the piggery.
The school had negotiated a contract with a business in Wagga Wagga which will buy as many piglets that the farm can produce, he said.
Mr McKay said Rural Ag shows at Scone and Wingham may go ahead subject to a relaxing of the covid restrictions currently in place.
He said these shows provided an important part in the hands-on training and learning for the agriculture students, particularly in developing communication skills and learning how other schools respond to issues.
The students are currently working on producing a video of the workings of the farm and experiences at various shows.
Year 12 student Eric Backhouse spoke of his love of farm animals and mentioned that he recently completed work experience at the Ag Farm.
He said he loved visiting Forbes and working on the farm owned by the Coles family.
Eric said he managed to muster 380 sheep and herd them for 11 kilometres with only a dog for assistance.
Eric was asked where would he like to be in 5 years' time and he clearly stated he would like to be a cattle farmer on his own farm.
Eric'[s mother reported that her son had significantly improved his communication skills and had overcome his shyness largely due to Umina Rotary sponsoring of Eric at the Armidale university tutorials.
Rotarian Mr Pat Lewis thanked the presenters and recalled some of the history of the Ag Farm when he was principal of the school.
Newsletter, 4 Nov 2020
Bruce Croft, Rotary Umina Beach