By Michelle Crean
Children got to experience first-hand the difference between urban and rural life last week after a school trip to a local farm.
Sixth class pupils from St Oliver’s who are taught by Joanne Rattigan, took some time out from their books and visited Mark Leslie’s farm in Drombrick, Beaufort, a family run farm with over 70 cows that produce milk, and got hands-on experience that no books could ever provide.
“Growing up in an urban environment, there’s one thing you know children are missing out – a trip to the rural areas and seeing a real live working farm with animals is rare these days,” Joanne told the Killarney Advertiser.
“Farms are a great place to visit any time of year because they provide students with an experience to see how farms work, how animals help us, and it is great!”
The visit came about as their classmate Pierce Leslie, had a very strong connection to a working farm, she added.
“With the help of Pierce’s dad, Tom, and his uncle Mark, we were able to arrange a class trip to a working dairy farm. There are a few children in my class that are farming fanatics and their enthusiasm for farming and farm machinery had rubbed off on the rest of the children!”
The whole class were excited to see the milking machines, the robots that helped out on the farm and the huge tractors that they had heard so much about.
Tom Leslie started off the visit by briefing the children on the changes that he had seen down through the years on dairy farms. The children then had the opportunity to see old milking methods and old milking machines. They then got to experience the current methods of milking cows using the Lely milking robots.
“They were amazed!” she said.
Mark and Tom Leslie brought the children on a tour around the farm and explained in detail about the robots.
“The children got to see how the robots are managed, what information the robots give to the famers and the difference they make to the life of a modern day farmer. Farming is educational, and teaching your children where exactly their food comes from is a lesson itself. Children will see the hard work and effort that goes into planning, growing and harvesting crops as well as raising and caring for livestock.”
And understanding the farming process can help children to be grateful for their food, she added.
“Because of children’s inquisitive minds, they are eager to know why things are the way they are and will ask many questions about their immediate environment. Mark and Tom were on hand to answer the multitude of questions that were thrown at them.”
Tom ended the tour with a lesson on farm safety.
Tom pointed out numerous hazards on a farm and things that farmers need to do to ensure safety for farm workers and the animals.
“We were fascinated walking around the farm, meeting the cows, watching them feeding, learning about the daily life of a dairy cow and experiencing the smells and aromas that we were unaccustomed to! We were fascinated by the robots and were delighted to see them in action. We had a lovely time on the farm and thoroughly enjoyed the trip. Thanks very much to Tom Leslie for organising the trip. Thanks to Mark Leslie and his father Michael for inviting us to the farm and educating us. We appreciate the time you spent with us and for making the trip really enjoyable.”