3,000 students take part in Agri Aware’s Farm Walk and Talk series

Some 3,000 agricultural science students took part in Agri Aware’s Farm Walk and Talk series in 2017.

Students from 80 schools visited Teagasc colleges and research centres nationwide, as well as UCD’s Lyons Research Farm, over the past week or so.

Coming from both rural and urban secondary schools, the students were able to gain real-life experience on working farms and hear talks from leading agri-food industry experts during the series.

The aim of Agri Aware’s Farm Walk and Talk series is to demonstrate the practical elements of modern agriculture to second-level students preparing for their Leaving Certificate Agricultural Science exam.

Agri Aware, Farm Walk and Talk
An Agri Aware Farm Walk and Talk event was held at UCD’s Lyons Research Farm on Monday, March 13

The series took place between Tuesday, March 10 and Monday, March 13, across eight different venues.

Farm Walk and Talk Series

Students were treated to presentations from lecturers as well as a variety of Agri Aware patrons.

Representatives from the meat, dairy, fertiliser and machinery industries also gave presentations during the events.

This year Agri Aware decided to expand the Farm Walk and Talk series, with two events held in Teagasc Ballyhaise as well an event on UCD’s Lyons Research Farm, Agri Aware’s Chairman, Richard Moeran, said.

This highlights the importance of students gaining real-life experience on working farms ahead of their Leaving Certificate Agricultural Science exam.

“The growing popularity of Ag Science as a viable career has been highlighted by the CAO this week, with news that there has been a 17% increase in the number of students applying for third-level honours degree courses in agriculture/horticulture,” he said.

Agri Aware, Farm Walk and Talk
L-R: Eve Courtney and Alex Mahon, Presentation Secondary School, Co. Carlow at UCD’s Lyons Research Farm

Meanwhile, the interest in the series in 2017 was very encouraging, according to Agri Aware’s Executive Director, Deirdre O’Shea.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for students to gain an insight into the hands-on experience of a working farm, while also getting the opportunity to engage with key industry stakeholders.

“Agri Aware wouldn’t be able to facilitate these events without the help of Teagasc, UCD, IASTA (Irish Agricultural Science Teachers’ Association) and our patrons from the agri-food industry,” she said.

Agri Aware, Farm Walk and Talk
Minister of State at the Agri Aware Farm Walk and Talk event at UCD’s Lyons Research Farm

While opening proceedings at UCD’s Lyons Research Farm, Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture, Andrew Doyle, highlighted the importance of farm safety.

Regardless of the type of farm you are involved with, you need to be aware of the risks in the environment you are working and do not become complacent.

“The risks are too great and the price too high,” he added.