School children learn about agriculture at Lawrie and Symington

Lanarkshire children see the sheep being sheared
Lanarkshire children see the sheep being sheared

Over 350 students from 10 local schools travelled to Lawrie and Symington’s Lanark Agricultural Centre last week over two days to learn about food, farming and agriculture at the annual Food and Farming Days with the Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET).

The pupils were split into six groups before moving around the six workstations situated inside the centre.

Local farmer William Steel discussing the meat from highland cattle

Local farmer William Steel discussing the meat from highland cattle

These learning stations were run by local volunteers and farmers from local agri-businesses.

Topics covered included vegetables, dairy products and cattle, Scotch beef, pigs, burger making, sheep shearing, auctioneering and farm machinery.

Teacher Graham McKelvie from Wallacewell Primary School in Glasgow: “The day brought our learning to life for our pupils. All participants were enthusiastic, and it was clear they had significant experience in these areas.

“As a result, pupils’ knowledge and skill have deepened in the relevant areas. This was a fantastic event and excellently organised.”

Farmer Margaret Orr answers questions from school children in Glasgow

Farmer Margaret Orr answers questions from school children in Glasgow

Hamish McCall, managing director of Lawrie and Symington, said: “RHET is doing a fantastic job of bringing farming to life for young people, educating them in agriculture and giving them a taste of rural life.

“For a lot of them, particularly those from urban areas, farming and the food chain are a mystery, so this is a good way to show young people where their food comes from and how it is produced.

“It is also important to continue to make agriculture an exciting career choice for young people. In my experience, millennial farmers are high tech and have a clear vision and ambition about how they intend to farm.

“These sorts of experiential trips help to inspire fresh thinking which is becoming increasingly important in agriculture as the role of technology becomes more ingrained into the daily operations of farmers and agricultural workers everywhere.”

The Food and Farming Day was funded by the Scottish government, local farmer Ian Smith, butcher Jamie Chapman, haulage company boss George Anderson and the charity RHET Clyde itself.

Hazel Stewart from Crawforddyke Primary in Carluke said: “I have been to this event before as a development officer for South Lanarkshire Council, but the standards set by RHET just keep improving.”

Kris Paterson, project co-ordinator of RHET Clyde, said “We’d like to thank all our volunteers and activity providers for making the event such a success. We could not run these days without the help of the local farming community.”