Hands-on exposure to dairy industry

EAGER TO LEARN: Compton Primary School year 7 students Tyler and Serenity look forward to caring for two calves on the schoolgrounds.

Charlotte Varcoe

THE Compton Primary schoolgrounds will come alive with livestock in the coming weeks as upper primary students join the Cows Create Careers program.

The South Australian Dairyfarmers’ Association initiative will be delivered at 35 schools across the state, creating an awareness of dairy industry careers with students through hands-on activities.

Compton Primary School students will care for two calves, which will remain on the school’s property during the program.

Focused around an industry-based curriculum, local dairy farmers will visit students and teach them how to care for the calves with an industry advocate also participating, educating students on career pathways into the dairy lifestyle.

Compton Primary School has started its learning journey with upper primary school teacher Katie Gaffney stating the program was beneficial for students.

“This program will give students an insight into the dairy industry and it is going to allow them to understand the career opportunities in the industry that they may not have considered before,” Ms Gaffney said.

“Especially for a lot of kids around here, they might already live on dairy farms or they might not have that exposure and it will give them a lot of hands-on learning experience as well and allow for them to better understand how their food gets to their plate and the process behind that.”

Ms Gaffney said the program would also benefit those interested in pursuing an agriculture career and give them a better insight into the industry.

“I did the program when I was younger and I learnt that there was a real possibility of getting into the dairy industry and how there are so many different aspects and career possibilities that you don’t think of as a kid,” she said.

“It really opens up the student’s world and gives them an entry way into more agricultural learning.

“There will also be little projects that go alongside the learning as the program isn’t just taking care of cows, the students will also do research into how to take care of the animals and learning about that as well.”

With the calves due for arrival in a few short weeks, students have already started learning how to recognise a healthy cow.

“Although it is predominantly for the upper primary school students, all students at the school get involved because it is quite exciting for them to have these animals in the school yard,” Ms Gaffney said.

“The kids are so excited and are super positive about the program and is something they have been looking forward to for a while due to not being able to do it last year because of the pandemic.”

South Australian Dairyfarmers’ Association agriculture projects and management officer Kylie Boston said it was a great program filled with lots of fun for the students.

“Not only is it a chance for the students to learn about the diversity of professional careers and pathways within the industry, it is also a lot of fun for them to care for the calves and gain knowledge around the paddock to plate concept,” Ms Boston said.

“It is great they get to meet and chat to the farmers and is a lot of responsibility caring for the calves.”

Students will complete the program around July before presenting their research and findings to key stakeholders locally.

Other schools involved in the program include Apsley Primary School, St Martins Lutheran College, Millicent High School, Beachport Primary School, Lucindale Area School and Kingston Community School.