From cattleyards to classrooms

Farmer from Wingham teaching agriculture in virtual classrooms around Australia


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Playing with props: Linga Longa farmer Greg Newell in the virtual classroom in the Australian Museum with a school teacher. Photo: Fiona Young, Meat and Livestock Australia.

Playing with props: Linga Longa farmer Greg Newell in the virtual classroom in the Australian Museum with a school teacher. Photo: Fiona Young, Meat and Livestock Australia.

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Greg Newell had the best farming day of his life, and he wasn't on the land.

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“I walked out of there and I thought it was one of the best days of farming I’ve ever had in my life,” says Greg Newell of Linga Longa Farm in Wingham.

The “there” he speaks of is not a shed, a paddock, or his cattleyards. 

It was the Australian Museum in the busy streets of Sydney.

On Wednesday June 21, Greg spent the day in a video conferencing room in the museum giving live classes to primary school children all over Australia.

Greg was invited by Meat and Livestock Australia to be a guest producer in their series of ‘Farming around Australia’ virtual excursions produced at the museum.

As an enthusiastic advocate of MLA, and promoting youth in agriculture, Greg was only too happy to accept the invitation.

Between nine and 15 classes from various schools attended in each of three sessions throughout the day.

“There was a table, a teacher, myself and a backdrop and some props on the table,” Greg says.

“It went into classrooms around the country. It went to schools in WA and it went to things like the children’s hospital school as well.

“It’s really exciting. It’s a really good way of getting a few stories out to city and country kids. Even if you live in the country you may not know exactly where their food comes from,” Greg says.

Greg is dedicated to encouraging people to learn where there food originates and this was one of the reasons Greg signed up to be a teacher for a day.

“Unfortunately kids do think their milk just turns up in a cardboard box and steak can only come from a supermarket or on a hamburger,” he says.

The scope of information Greg presented to the children was large.

“On the video conference we talked about new technology that farmers use, like drones - I might fly a drone out to check a water trough in the morning. We talked about technology and changes, electronic devices for ear tags and weighing cattle, and explaining maybe that’s why you need to be good at maths, because you need be able to work out if your animals are growing. So it was to try and get them thinking, trying to work out how much water you need per animal.”

If MLA were to invite Greg to participate in future virtual excursions, Greg wouldn’t hesitate.

“Seeing kids interact and ask intelligent and caring questions and to hear kids who’ve never been to farms – they don’t know farmers anymore and they’ve never been to farms, so these kids actually meet a farmer and actually get to ask questions,” he says.

“It was honestly one of the best farming days of my life. I probably got more out of it than they did. It’s such a reward.”

The story From cattleyards to classrooms first appeared on Wingham Chronicle.

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