The NFU’s Farmers for Schools ambassadors have achieved top grades this year, helping the NFU Education team on its mission to reconnect children with food and farming and helping them achieve their learning objectives.
Since April 2022 the NFU Education team has trained 215 ambassadors through its Farmers for Schools programme, to go into schools and speak to children about the agricultural industry and answer student questions.
Between them, over 100 ambassadors have spoken to 7,000 children of all abilities and across a range of age groups in the 2022/23 academic year.
“The thing I liked most about farmer Kate’s visit was seeing the produce she brought with her and the time we tried grinding the corn to try and make our own flour."
Year 8 student, Hatch End High School
Sharing the opportunities that farming can offer
Schools all across the country have been able to benefit from visits from the Farmers for Schools ambassadors. Buckinghamshire crops farmer Kate Mason used the opportunity to showcase her sector at Hatch End High School in North London, where she taught Year 8 students a variety of information on farming, and even demonstrated how to create their own flour from harvested crops.
One student who took part in the class said: “The thing I liked most about farmer Kate’s visit was seeing the produce she brought with her and the time we tried grinding the corn to try and make our own flour. I remember most the part where she told us about the red tractor and the ethical farming she does and the use of the big machines.
Another student said: “I really liked seeing and feeling the learning resources that farmer Kate brought into school. We saw, wheat, barley and field beans.”
The ambassadors made visits to over 60 schools over the course of the academic year – and, it was not only the children that found their lessons valuable. “The children were very interested in hearing about farming career opportunities as many had no idea that this could be a possibility for them”, one teacher said. “It was such a joy to see them so engaged and interested!”
Enjoying the experience
The ambassadors are also really enjoying the experience of speaking to schoolchildren about their lives as farmers.
“Although I was terrified to begin with – it is daunting going into a room of teenagers – I’m now really enjoying the experience.” said West Sussex arable farmer Phil Veltom.
“There is a lot of satisfaction knowing you have taught someone something they didn’t know. It is fascinating to hear some of the ideas students have about the farming industry, so we need to do this.
If we don’t promote our industry to the younger generation, there will be no one left.”
Be part of the movement
The Farmers for Schools programme is continuing to go from strength to strength as it enters its third scholastic year. Chief Education Manager, Joshua Payne, said: “We are really delighted that our Farmers for Schools programme has taken off so successfully. Not only have children been benefiting from meeting representatives from our industry but it’s hugely satisfying to hear that farmers are getting so much out of their experiences talking in schools.
“Feedback from schools has been exceptional, and with over 60 visits already booked in for the Autumn term we’re hoping to build this project.”
The NFU Education team are always on the lookout for new ambassadors to showcase the value of British farming and correct any myths or misconceptions, as well as answer questions from students across the country.
If you are interested in becoming a Farmers for Schools Ambassador, you can find more information on the application process at: NFU Farmers for Schools programme