Thursday, 30 November 2017

Playing with (Painted) Cows

G’Day Mob,

Every now and again it’s good to step outside your comfort zone and see how the other half live; so recently I headed to the bright city lights of Sydney. There are lots of people there. And noise. And the dam is a bit bigger than ours …

But some things don’t change. I still got to play with cows.

One of the reasons I was in the big smoke was to help out with The Archibull Prize, a wonderful program that takes agriculture into classrooms and connects students with farmers. Each school is given a cow. Not a living, breathing one, but a life-sized fibreglass bovine. Each school is also assigned an agricultural industry to study and are let loose with a paint brush and their unbounded young imaginations.

This is what they come up with:

Little Bay Community of Schools in Sydney were assigned the pork industry and they proved pigs could fly by incorporating a drone onto their cow ….

Blacktown Girls High (also in Sydney) were assigned the cotton industry, and as well as producing this vibrant Archie, also researched and supported the charity Share the Dignity - because all sorts of things are made from cotton …

And the winners, with the much coveted title of Grand Champion Archibull, were Calvary Christian College from Brisbane who stripped their poor cow down and turned it into a nursery to represent the wool industry ….

Thirty schools participated in the 2017 Archibull Prize and to help them in their journey of agricultural discovery were a bunch dedicated professionals known as Young Farming Champions. Among their ranks are agronomists, agricultural students, law students, cotton extension officers, wool brokers, biosecurity officers, hydroponic lettuce growers, and wool classers – proving you can do almost anything in this industry. Surprisingly not all of them grew up on farms. Many grew up in Sydney (with all those people and all that noise) and some even began their agricultural careers after participating in The Archibull Prize at school.

It was a ripper week and a pleasure to be involved with such an inspirational group of teachers, students and young farming professionals. Together we can achieve anything.

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