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Donning the wellies for Agri Aware's Walk and Talk series

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More than 3,000 agricultural science students will don their wellies and take to the fields this spring for hands-on learning as part of Agri Aware’s Farm Walk and Talk 2018, which takes place from March 5-15.

As part of the event, the Leaving Cert students will visit Teagasc colleges and research centres nationwide, as well as UCD’s Lyons Research Farm and this year’s newest venue, the Irish Farmers Journal farm in Co. Offaly, to gain real-life experience on working farms and to hear talks from leading agri-food industry experts. From observing cows being milked, comparing different breeds of cattle, examining soil profiles and watching piglets suckle, the students will experience the reality of the subject that they are taught each day in the classroom.

Speaking at the launch, Agri Aware chairman, Richard Moeran, said: “Agriculture is hands-on and events like this provide thousands of students with an insight into the practicalities of farming and the hard work that farmers do each day. For many, it will be their first time on an operating farm and we believe it could play a role in enticing these students towards a career in the agriculture sector.”

Nine venues will host the students over eight days, during which time they will attend presentations from lecturers as well as a variety of Agri Aware patrons who will provide industry and curriculum-linked talks. Representatives from ABP, Dawn Meats, Kepak, Truly Irish and Liffey Meats will provide educational talks and presentations on the meat industry, while representatives from Glanbia, Dairygold, Dairymaster, Lakeland Dairies, Aurivo, LacPatrick Co-op and Arrabawn will be on hand to provide information about the Irish dairy industry. Gouldings and Grassland Agro, both members of the Irish Fertiliser Manufactures Association (IFMA), will educate students on the fertiliser industry. Other patrons who will speak on their sectors include IFAC accountants, FBD Insurance and many more.

Speaking at the launch, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed said: “This yearly event plays a key role in allowing second level agricultural science students to gain practical experience on working farms that many studying the subject may otherwise not experience. This is particularly beneficial for students who don’t come from a farming background. Many of the students studying agricultural science today will go on to become the leaders of tomorrow within the sector and I wish all students attending the event every success with their agricultural education.”

Tags: Department of Agriculture, Agri Aware Walk and Talk 2018