FARMING MATTERS: Educating youngsters

Visiting farms is a popular pastime for families, which is why there is such an abundance of farm attractions and open farms these days.

But it wasn’t always so. For many people years ago, the only opportunity to visit a farm was if you personally knew a farmer.

Certainly, when I was a little girl, we didn’t know any farmers, and so instead my mother used to take me to the local mart to see the cattle and sheep sold.

After marrying a farmer and having children of our own, we welcomed the chance to have children visiting, and often had visits from the little ones at our children’s nurseries, play groups or schools.

Sometimes my husband took baby lambs into the nursery or school and gave a short talk to the children and let them help to bottle feed an orphan lamb.

These days, school visits, whether to the farm or from the farmer, are much more professionally organised, with worksheets, links to the national curriculum and educational road shows. And later this year the National Farmer’s Union will be visiting schools with their Let’s Talk Farming Roadshow. In the past they have taken tractors, dairy calves and activity booklets into schools to show children where their food comes from and have even helped them to make butter.