Hat-trick for NFU Farmers for Schools Ambassador
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Jane Barnes, of Melton Mowbray, whose family are dedicated to milk production and the county’s proud heritage of Stilton cheese production, talked to pupils from three schools in three weeks about food, farming and what happens over the hedgerow.
The Somerby farmer, who is NFU Melton Mowbray branch chair, was at Beauchamp College at Oadby, Wreake Valley Academy at Syston and Asfordby Hill Primary School at Melton Mowbray.
She spoke to groups of Year 8, Year 7 and Year 6 students as well as a small cohort of those with special educational needs (SEN).
The last visit was at the start of November, and she said while ‘a little daunting’ it was an absolute pleasure to field questions from all the different age groups.
The largest group was 300 students from Beauchamp College who she spoke to for more than an hour. Jane farms in partnership with her husband Mark and son Harry who is the fourth generation of the family to milk cows at the family business.
They have 300 cows on a grass-based system with access to the fields all year around.
Jane said: “They were all brilliant and while it was a little daunting, once I got into the question-and-answer session I quickly found my flow because it’s a subject I really care about.
“At these visits I was able to link into their work and into the curriculum and talk about the herd, food production, our low food miles, our place in the community, the town, local economy and our environmental credentials. “Some of the pupils had family who worked at the cheese factory where all the milk from our cows is turned into fabulous Stilton so that was great too.
“I just love talking about what generally happens on farm and the real inspiration for me is being able to chat to them about what it takes to produce great tasting, healthy, nutritious milk so the next generation has a more balanced view of what we do.
“Talks like this are just a great opportunity to give pupils and some of the teachers an insight into the quality and value of local British food, where it comes from and how it is really produced.”
Mrs Barnes was also due to address farmers at her branch’s annual general meeting on 15 November and she said that she would talk about the NFU Farmers for Schools Ambassador programme and encourage Leicestershire farmers to sign up.
“I would say to any farmer to just do it, do it, do it – get into schools and talk about the work you do to help put food on people’s plates,” she said.
The NFU currently has more than 200 fully trained Farmers for Schools Ambassadors and for more information on the programme Leicestershire farmers can go to the @NFUEducation pages of nfueducation.com on the internet.
Josh Payne, NFU education manager, said: “Farmers like Jane are doing a fantastic job speaking to pupils about the work they do addressing climate change, harnessing technology, looking after the environment, and producing food to world-leading standards.
“The dates for our next training courses for the Spring will be announced in the new year.”
To register your interest please contact the NFU Education team at [email protected] by email.