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Fun on the Farm - Farm Walk and Talk 2017

Agri Aware’s 2017 Farm Walk and Talk series took place from March 6-10 and March 13 in agricultural colleges and research centres across Ireland as well as UCD’s Lyons Research Farm.

Nearly 3,000 students from urban and rural backgrounds dusted off their wellies for some hands-on learning at one of Agri Aware’s eight Farm Walk and Talk locations. Agri-food industry leaders gave talks each day of the series and lectures from the colleges and UCD School of Agriculture all spoke on their areas of expertise.

The primary aim of these events is to give students a better understanding of what they are studying and get a taste for the realities of farming life. Agri Aware’s Farm Walk and Talk series gives students the opportunity to witness many of the elements of Agricultural Science Leaving Certificate course come to life on the farm. Students get the opportunity to talk to third level Agricultural Science lecturers and industry representatives adding to what they learn in the classroom and helping to prepare them for their Leaving Certificate Agricultural Science exam. Agri Aware’s Executive Director, Deirdre O’Shea believes Farm Walk and Talk is “… a fantastic opportunity for students to gain an insight into the hands-on experience of a working farm while also getting the opportunity to engage with key industry stakeholders.”

Agri Aware’s Farm Walk and Talk series kicked off this year in Gurteen Agricultural College on Monday March 6. Students experienced farming life with ewes lambing right in front of their eyes! Along with talks from lectures, students received a talk on dairy production from Tom Starr of Arrabawn Co-Op while ABP’s Maria Kilmartin discussed the Irish beef industry and beef processing.

Fun on the Farm | Farm walk and talk | UCD agriculture

Agri Aware’s Chairman, Richard Moeran and Arrabawn’s Tom Starr with students in Gurteen on March 6

On Tuesday, Agri Aware was in Teagasc Ballyhaise Agricultural College for the first of our two days at the Cavan Teagasc College. Despite the bad weather, students had a great day learning about the Irish dairy industry from Tom Downes of Lakeland Dairies, while ABP graduate programme students talked about the different cuts of beef meat and how cows are graded under the EUROP grading system.

Fun on the Farm | Farm walk and talk | UCD agriculture

Tom Downes of Lakeland Dairies with a student in Ballyhaise on March 7

Wednesday brought Agri Aware back to Ballyhaise for a second round of farm-filled fun. Paul Crosson from LacPatrick spoke about the dairy industry and milk production at the event and even took some samples of dairy products such as yoghurts to distribute amongst students. Robert Cole and Christy McGowan from Liffey Meats spoke to students about the beef industry. On the day, one of the dairy cows calved outside and many of the students from non-agricultural backgrounds witnessed a cow calf for the first time.

Fun on the Farm | Farm walk and talk | UCD agriculture

Students in Ballyhaise on March 8 with Robert Cole and Christy McGowan of Liffey Meats with Agri Aware’s Chairman Richard Moeran

Agri Aware also hosted a Farm Walk and Talk event in Mountbellew Agricultural College on March 8. The Farm Tractor and Machinery Trade Association (FTMTA) and Aurivo Co-Op joined the Mountbellew lecturers on Wednesday to talk to students about their organisations and experiences. The lecturers set up a great farm safety talk with helpful visual aids to leave an impression on all who visited. The lambs were a big hit with the students on Wednesday in Mountbellew.

Fun on the Farm | Farm walk and talk | UCD agriculture

6th year student, Megan O’Malley from Sancta Maria College in Mountbellew

Thursday March 9 was beautiful sunny day in Salesian Agricultural College, Pallaskenry, Co. Limerick. Thursday was a tale of two yards, the dairy and the beef yards! Irish Fertiliser Manufacturers Association (IFMA) representative Kieran Murphy spoke to students about the importance of fertiliser for crops in Ireland.

Fun on the Farm | Farm walk and talk | UCD agriculture

Students from Portlaoise College in Pallaskenry on March 9

Agri Aware also had a Farm Walk and Talk in the Teagasc Research Centre in Grange, Co. Meath on Thursday, March 9. Paul Nolan from Dawn meats brought out his butcher hat and cuts of meat which added to his fascinating discussion on the Irish meat industry. Pat Hernan of Dairymaster was also present at the event and talked about the increasing use of technology in farms among a variety of other topics relating to the dairy industry. He also highlighted the large variety of job positions on offer in the industry such as engineering positions as well as design positions. He even brought some equipment samples to demonstrate how they are used!

Fun on the Farm | Farm walk and talk | UCD agriculture

Eddie O’Riordan of Teagasc Grange with Paul Nolan of Dawn Meats and Agri Aware’s Executive Director, Deirdre O’Shea

On Friday, IFMA, Dairygold and Kepak joined Agri Aware in Teagasc Moorepark, C. Cork. In Moorepark students learned from PhD and Masters students who gave talks ranging from milk quality to grassland management and everything in between. Tim O’Mahony, president of IFMA and John McGrath spoke to students on fertiliser the sources of nitrogen and the origin of fertiliser raw materials. Dairygold’s Shane O’Donnell spoke to students about milk production, research and development and Dairygold’s graduate programme. Simon Aylward of Kepak gave students an overview of the Irish meat industry and spoke of the different meat cuts and quality. Students also had the opportunity to see ruminant digestion up close with a cannulated cow.

Fun on the Farm | Farm walk and talk | UCD agriculture

Agri Aware Chairman, Richard Moeran with Aisling Claffey and Claire Guy of Teagasc Moorepark

The second half of the Agri Aware team ended the week in Teagasc Kildalton in Co. Kilkenny. We were lucky enough that Paul Nolan from Dawn Meats was kind enough to re-join us for this event as his discussion in Grange was highly praised. Sinéad McEntee of Glanbia spoke about the business of Glanbia and her experience working as a graduate in the agri-food industry. The speakers at Kildalton had many interesting displays and discussions which ranged from an equine discussion to a display of the ruminant stomach.

Fun on the Farm | Farm walk and talk | UCD agriculture

Agri Aware’s Executive Director Deirdre O’ Shea with Louise Carroll in Teagasc Kildalton on March 10

The final Farm Walk and Talk of 2017 brought Agri Aware to UCD’s Research Farm where Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture, Andrew Doyle, launched the event. Amii McKeever of Glanbia discussed the Irish dairy industry, Aine Mulvihill from Kepak talked about the Irish meat industry, cuts of meat and meat quality. The Irish Farmers Journal’s Mary Phelan informed students of the educational resources that they and Agri Aware have developed as well as career opportunities in the industry. UCD’s Agricultural Science lecturers spoke to students on the curriculum and university course options. Temperatures reached 17°C in Lyons but students kept a cool head as they visited the lambing shed during its busiest time of the year!

Fun on the Farm | Farm walk and talk | UCD agriculture

Minister Andrew Doyle and Agri Aware’s Executive Director, Deirdre O’Shea with students in Lyons

Agri Aware would like to thank the agricultural colleges, research centres and UCD for facilitating the Farm Walk and Talk events and Agri Aware patrons for speaking at the events.


See our 2016 highlights below!


Farm Walk and Talk 2016 - A huge success

Highlights video containing some of the best bits from this years Farm Walk and Talk series.

Agricultural Science students from 80 schools across Ireland donned their wellies and took to the fields for interactive learning, as part of Agri Aware’s Farm Walk and Talk series.

Some 2,500 urban and rural second level students took the opportunity to visit Teagasc colleges and research centres across the country, to gain some real-life experience on working farms. They also had the chance to listen to talks from leading experts in the Irish agri-food industry.

This year, Agri Aware's Farm Walk and Talk series coincided with the release of the new DRAFT Agricultural Science specification for Leaving Certificate students. Chief Executive of Agri Aware, Dr. Vanessa Woods, and her former Chairman, Mr. Bernard Donohue, initiated this whole process and they had a formal role on the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) Development Group to deliver this new industry-relevant specification.

Through curriculum-linked educational and exploratory tours at Teagasc Agricultural Colleges and Research Centres, students are given the opportunity to learn about a variety of elements of farming life e.g. the dairy, beef, sheep, pigs, poultry and crops sectors.

The primary objective of Agri Aware’s Farm Walk and Talk is to expose students to the reality of Agricultural Science and give students a better understanding of the practicalities of agriculture. In addition, students have the opportunity to get advice from third level agricultural lecturers.

For more information on Agri Aware's Farm Walk and Talk 2017 series' including registration details and dates keep an eye on www.agriaware.ie and Agri Aware's Facebook and Twitter pages.

Fun on the Farm | Farm walk and talk | UCD agriculture

Mr. Richard Moeran, Chairman, Agri Aware; Dr. Vanessa Woods, CEO, Agri Aware pictured with Mr. Tom Starr of Arrabawn Co-op and sixth year students at Agri Aware's Farm Walk and Talk event in Teagasc, Gurteen, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary.

Fun on the Farm | Farm walk and talk | UCD agriculture

Mr. Richard Moeran, Chairman, Agri Aware; Dr. Vanessa Woods, CEO, Agri Aware pictured with Ms. Maria Kilmartin, the ABP team and sixth year students from Clonaslee Vocational School, Co. Laois at at Agri Aware's Farm Walk and Talk event in Teagasc, Gurteen, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary.

Fun on the Farm | Farm walk and talk | UCD agriculture

Dr. Vanessa Woods, CEO, Agri Aware pictured with Mr. Tim O'Mahony and Mr. John McGrath of IFMA and sixth year students from Gaelcholaiste Luimnigh at Agri Aware's Farm Walk and Talk event in Teagasc, Clonakilty Darrara Agricultural College, Co. Cork.

Fun on the Farm | Farm walk and talk | UCD agriculture

Dr. Vanessa Woods, CEO, Agri Aware pictured with Mr. Liam Leen and Mr. Ciaran O'Sullivan of Dairymaster and sixth year students from Mount Saint Michael Secondary School, Rosscarbery, Co. Cork at Agri Aware's Farm Walk and Talk event in Teagasc, Clonakilty Darrara Agricultural College, Co. Cork.

Fun on the Farm | Farm walk and talk | UCD agriculture

Mr. Seamus O'Mahony and the Dairygold team pictured with sixth year students at Agri Aware's Farm Walk and Talk event in Teagasc, Moorepark, Co. Cork.

Fun on the Farm | Farm walk and talk | UCD agriculture

Agri Aware Chairman, Mr. Richard Moeran pictured with Ms. Aine Mulvihill of Kepak and sixth year students at Agri Aware's Farm Walk and Talk event in Teagasc, Moorepark, Co. Cork.

Fun on the Farm | Farm walk and talk | UCD agriculture

Students from Carraick Community School, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim pictured with Mr. Richard Moeran, Chairman, Agri Aware; Dr. Vanessa Woods, CEO, Agri Aware; Adrian McKeague of Lakeland Dairies and John Kelly, Principal, Teagasc, Ballyhaise, Co. Cavan at Agri Aware's Farm Walk and Talk event in Teagasc, Ballyahise, Co. Cavan.

Fun on the Farm | Farm walk and talk | UCD agriculture

Ciara Henry and Ava McLoughlain from Carraick Community School, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim pictured with Aidan McCabe, LacPatrick at Agri Aware's Farm Walk and Talk event in Teagasc, Ballyahise, Co. Cavan.

Fun on the Farm | Farm walk and talk | UCD agriculture

Chelsea Deveney, student at Deele College, Raphoe, Lifford, Co. Donegal pictured with Robert Cole, Liffey Meats; Dr. Vanessa Woods, CEO, Agri Aware and Christy McGowan, Liffey Meats at Agri Aware's Farm Walk and Talk event in Teagasc, Ballyahise, Co. Cavan.

Fun on the Farm | Farm walk and talk | UCD agriculture

Royal School, Cavan pictured with Mr. Richard Moeran, Chairman, Agri Aware; Dr. Vanessa Woods, CEO, Agri Aware, past pupil of Royal School, Cavan; Aidan McCabe, LacPatrick pictured at Agri Aware's Farm Walk and Talk event in Teagasc, Ballyahise, Co. Cavan.

Fun on the Farm | Farm walk and talk | UCD agriculture

Students from St. Columba's Comprehensive School, Glenties, Co. Donegal pictured with Dr. Vanessa Woods, CEO, Agri Aware and Adrian McKeague of Lakeland Dairies at Agri Aware's Farm Walk and Talk event in Teagasc, Ballyahise, Co. Cavan.

Fun on the Farm | Farm walk and talk | UCD agriculture

Aeva Andersson, student at St. Columba's Comprehensive School, Glenties, Co. Donegal pictured with Dr. Vanessa Woods, CEO, Agri Aware and Adrian McKeague of Lakeland Dairies at Agri Aware's Farm Walk and Talk event in Teagasc, Ballyahise, Co. Cavan.

Fun on the Farm | Farm walk and talk | UCD agriculture

Glanbia Chairman, Mr. Henry Corbally and Dr. Vanessa Woods, Agri Aware with sixth year students during Agri Aware's Farm Walk and Talk at Teagasc Grange Research Centre, Dunsany, Co. Meath.

Fun on the Farm | Farm walk and talk | UCD agriculture

Mr. Richard Moeran, Chairman, Agri Aware; Dr. Vanessa Woods, CEO, Agri Aware pictured with Mr. Paul Nolan of Dawn Meats and sixth year students from St Michael's College, Ailesbury Rd, Dublin 4 and Alexandra College, Milltown, Dublin 6 during Agri Aware's Farm Walk and Talk at Teagasc Grange Research Centre, Dunsany, Co. Meath.

Fun on the Farm | Farm walk and talk | UCD agriculture

Mr. Richard Moeran, Chairman, Agri Aware; Dr. Vanessa Woods, CEO, Agri Aware pictured with Pat Ryan of Dairymaster and sixth year students during Agri Aware's Farm Walk and Talk at Teagasc Grange Research Centre, Dunsany, Co. Meath.

Fun on the Farm | Farm walk and talk | UCD agriculture

Ms. Roberta McDonald of Aurivo at Agri Aware Farm Walk and Talk event in Teagasc, Mountbellew, Co. Galway.

Fun on the Farm | Farm walk and talk | UCD agriculture

Dr. Vanessa Woods, CEO, Agri Aware pictured with Mr. Paul Nolan of Dawn Meats and sixth year students Lisa Kehoe and Charlotte McCluskey of Loreto Secondary School, Granges Rd, Co. Kilkenny at Agri Aware Farm Walk and Talk event in Teagasc, Kildalton, Co. Kilkenny.

Fun on the Farm | Farm walk and talk | UCD agriculture

Dr. Vanessa Woods, CEO, Agri Aware pictured with Michael Daly of Glanbia and sixth year students at Agri Aware Farm Walk and Talk event in Teagasc, Kildalton, Co. Kilkenny.

Fun on the Farm | Farm walk and talk | UCD agriculture

Calving a laugh at Agri Aware's Farm Walk and Talk. Chief Executive of Agri Aware, Dr.Vanessa Woods pictured with students Jack O'Brien, Conor De Roiste and Jack Gallagher from St. Colman's College, Fermoy, Co. Cork at Agri Aware Farm Walk and Talk event in Teagasc, Kildalton, Co. Kilkenny.

Fun on the Farm | Farm walk and talk | UCD agriculture

Horsing around at Agri Aware's Farm Walk and Talk, 2016. Agri Aware Chief Executive, Dr. Vanessa Woods pictured with Aoife Brennan and Kate Brennan of St Leo's, Co. Carlow at the stables in Teagasc, Kildalton.

Fun on the Farm | Farm walk and talk | UCD agriculture

Agri Aware makes studying Ag Science lambs play! Students Darren Cousins and Conor O'Brien of St Peter's College, Castlelane, Co. Wexford pictured with Agri Aware Cheif Executive, Dr. Vanessa Woods at Farm Walk and Talk event in Teagasc, Kildalton Co. Kilkenny.

Fun on the Farm | Farm walk and talk | UCD agriculture

Agri Aware Chairman, Mr. Richard Moeran pictured with Mr. Shane McAuliffe of Truly Irish and sixth year students from Ballincollig Community School, Innishmore, Ballincollig, Co. Cork during Agri Aware's Farm Walk and Talk at Salesian Agricultural College, Pallaskenry, Co. Limerick.

Fun on the Farm | Farm walk and talk | UCD agriculture

Agri Aware Chairman, Mr. Richard Moeran pictured with Mr. Kieran Murphy of IFMA and sixth year students from CBS, The Green, Tralee, Co. Kerry during Agri Aware's Farm Walk and Talk at Salesian Agricultural College, Pallaskenry, Co. Limerick.

Fun on the Farm | Farm walk and talk | UCD agriculture

Agri Aware Chairman, Mr. Richard Moeran pictured with Michael Scanlon, Rory Ruttledge, Darragh Regan and their teacher Eileen Enright from CBS, The Green, Tralee, Co. Kerry during Agri Aware’s Farm Walk and Talk at Salesian Agricultural College, Pallaskenry, Co. Limerick. The students are entering the Certified Irish Angus Beef competition.