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Nearly 3,000 Agricultural Science students take to the fields for hands-on learning

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, 2017.

Some 3,000 urban and rural second level students visited Teagasc colleges and research centres nationwide, as well as UCD’s Lyons Research Farm, to gain real-life experience on working farms and hear talks from leading agri-food industry experts.

Agri Aware’s Farm Walk and Talk series is a key event in the Agricultural Science calendar, as it demonstrates the practical elements of modern agriculture, to second level students preparing for their Leaving Certificate Agricultural Science exam.

Agri Aware’s Farm Walk and Talk series takes place from March 6-10 and 13, with eight venues hosting students over six days. This event includes presentations from lecturers as well as a variety of Agri Aware patrons who provide industry and curriculum linked talks. Representatives from ABP, Dawn Meats, Kepak and Liffey Meats provide educational talks and presentations on the meat industry,while representatives from Glanbia, Dairygold, Dairymaster, Lakeland Dairies, Aurivo, LacPatrick Co-op and Arrabawn were on hand to provide information about the Irish dairy industry. Gouldings and Grassland Agro, both members of the Irish Fertiliser Manufactures Association (IFMA), educated students on the fertiliser industry. While FTMTA spoke on the advancement of agricultural mechanisation and the Irish Farmers Journal spoke on the wide ranging ag careers available to students.

Speaking at the last day of Farm Walk and Talk in Lyons Research Farm, Agri Aware's Chairman, Richard Moeran said, "Agri Aware has expanded its Farm Walk and Talk series, this year we hosted two events in Teagasc Ballyhaise and UCD’s Lyons Research Farm has also come on board. This highlights the importance of students gaining real-life experience on working farms ahead of their Leaving Certificate Agricultural Science exam. The growing popularity of Ag Science as a viable career has been highlighted by the CAO this week, with news that there has been a 17% increase in the number of students applying for third-level honours degree courses in agriculture/horticulture. ”

Agri Aware’s Executive Director, Deirdre O’Shea added, “It’s great to see so many schools interested in Farm Walk and Talk. This 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 wouldn’t be able to facilitate these events without the help of Teagasc, UCD, IASTA and our patrons from the agri-food industry.”

Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture, Andrew Doyle opened proceedings at UCD's Lyons Research Farm stating: “One important issue I would like to remind you about is the importance of faming safely. Regardless of the type of farm you are involved with, you need to be aware of the risks in the environment you are working and do not become complacent. The risks are too great and the price too high.”