News

Farmer FaceTimes with students

By Ash Witoslawski

A Violet Town farmer has shared her day-to-day life with inquisitive students in an Australian first initiative.

As part of national AgDay celebrations on Wednesday, November 21, three Australian farmers linked with various schools for FaceTime a Farmer.

Stud and commercial Merino breeder and blogger Anna Toland of Toland Merinos shared her experiences with a class of Year 7 students from Tintern Grammar in Melbourne.

Ms Toland said she was looking forward to the program and sharing some aspects of her life on the farm.

‘‘It’s exciting to try new initiatives and I really like educating young people on ag,’’ she said.

She said the students asked really interesting questions and seemed to engage with her work.

‘‘They were very green agricultural students and the more they engage with people like me the better their knowledge will be.’’

Ms Toland said the students were interested in the value of sheep, how much wool they cut, the size of their land and how long it took to get around the paddock.

With just 20 minutes to show off her lifestyle, Ms Toland gave a demonstration of auto-drafting, toured the sheering shed, showed them some wool and the yard and set her two kelpies — Pip and Wilbur — to work rounding up the sheep.

‘‘It went really quickly and they loved watching,’’ she said.

FaceTime a Farmer was developed in the United Kingdom by British producer and farmer Tom Martin to educate the wider public about agriculture and production.

In Australia, the program is co-ordinated by the Primary Industries Education Foundation Australia with the support of Fairfax Agricultural Media.