Teachers get out of the classroom and onto the farm

Teachers from around the country have been getting a first-hand look at the agricultural sector. 

Teachers' Day Out events get teachers out of the classroom and on to the farm.

Oete Goat Farm near Pukukohe recently hosted  group of 80 teachers, where they learnt about New Zealand's $1 billion export infant formula industry.

The goat milk is turned into milk powder and high-value infant formula and sold in New Zealand and exported to countries including China and Vietnam.

"The majority of the teachers were from Auckland and it was their first time visiting a dairy goat farm," said Trevor McIntyre from NZ Young Farmers, which organised the trip.

Sian McMillan (left) and Briar Gray from Onewhero Area School.
Sian McMillan (left) and Briar Gray from Onewhero Area School. Photo credit: Supplied

"They were completely blown away by the level of skill and technology required to produce such sought-after, high quality milk," he said.

It was one of six held around the country to showcase career opportunities in the primary industries.

Kerry Allen teaches agri-business, agriculture and horticulture at St Paul's Collegiate in Hamilton and attended the Auckland and Waikato events.

"I came away feeling refreshed and excited about the growing number of opportunities out there, especially in agri-tech," she said.

"My teaching really benefits from having a more detailed understanding of a subject and that passion flows through to students."

Teachers also toured the sprawling glasshouses of T&G Global in Pukekohe.

The business owns almost 30 hectares of glasshouses. The majority are used to produce tomatoes.

"We don't have those in the Waikato, so it was fantastic to be able to ask questions about the business," said Ms Allen.

Herman Fourie from T&G Global talks to teachers about tomato production.
Herman Fourie from T&G Global talks to teachers about tomato production. Photo credit: Supplied

Bronwyn Dyer is a teacher at Hauraki Plains College, which has just planted 2000 trees  half of them blueberries  on a small farmlet used by students.

"I use everything I learn on the Teachers' Day Out - it's important students aren't being taught out-of-date information about the sector," she said.

The teachers also visited Aeronavics in Raglan which manufactures drones.

"The business is a great example of how a student with an interest in robotics and agriculture can be involved in the industry."