NINE Corinda State High School students have stepped away from Brisbane this week, and landed on properties in the Monto region.
As part of Rabobank’s Farm Experience program the students have spent the week on properties – learning about new industries, agricultural careers, and how life works in the bush.
Two of the students, Josie Williams, 15, and Jacob Lane, 16, have spent the week with Dieta and Russ Salisbury, Glenbrae, Monto, where the Salisbury family run a mixed farming operation including a piggery, cropping, and a commercial cattle herd.
Josie and Jacob are both Year 11 students, and said neither had been on a production farm before.
Josie said she was “loving” the experience away from the city.
“We’ve been on the sprayer and the planter, and we’ve been at the piggery a couple of times,” she said.
“We were mostly just observing things like reproduction, and watching them clean.”
Jacob said one thing he was not expecting was the smell – which he described as “pretty bad”.
Both students said they are now considering careers in agriculture – though Jacob said he wants to be either a carpenter or a professional basketball player first.
They said the experience was one they wouldn’t forget.
“It’s normally a Year 10 program, and I knew it was on last year but I didn’t go to the school until everyone was already booked in for it, so I wanted to go this year,” Josie said.
“We both do a Cert II in Agriculture at school.”
Ms Salisbury, an ex-teacher, said the program was incredibly valuable and she loved having the chance to teach the teenagers about life outside the city.
FOR Corinda State High School’s Head of Agriculture and Science – the farm experience has been as valuable for him as the students.
Stewart Halsey said despite being the teacher, he was “learning on the go” when it came to agriculture.
He has been staying with a student at Carly and Grant Burnham’s property, Bonnie Doon, near Monto, where they run an organic cattle operation.
Mr Halsey said the school had been involved in the program since 2015.
“We’ve got nine students this year, they’ve been farmed out to five different properties who are members of the Rabobank Client Council,” he said.
“I think they (students) always surprise you - they come up with things that you didn’t observe or take in, which they find very interesting.”
CHRIS Dart, 15, may be a city kid – but he said he knows he wants to work in agriculture.
The Year 10 student has been staying alongside his teacher at Boonie Doon, near Monto, and said he was very impressed with the week.
“We’ve been drafting, yesterday we went and had a day in town - so we saw a piggery, a vet, and the local high school,” he said.
“I’ve learnt that it’s very different out here than in the city.”
Now very keen on working in the agricultural industry with cattle, Chris said he had learnt a few things about cattle during his stay.
“They have a bubble - so you stand behind the bubble so it’s more easy for them to walk,” he said.
“They’re also really fast and powerful.”
Mr Burnham said he thoroughly enjoyed being part of the program, which was introduced to the Central Queensland region largely thanks to his wife.