VIDEO: Agri-education is vital for industry’s future, Society says

Have your say

Home is a family farm at Flaxton, near York; it is mainly arable, with a small suckler herd and ELS/HLS environmental agreements. As most working mums will testify, life is a juggling act.

With harvest and school holidays to consider, the juggling balls were flying in all directions, but seeing the children enjoy the freedom of a farming childhood, I wouldn’t trade places. Having said that, escaping to work can be a blessing some days!

The Discovery Zone at the Great Yorkshire Show.  Picture: Louise Pollard

The Discovery Zone at the Great Yorkshire Show. Picture: Louise Pollard

The Yorkshire Agricultural Society is best known for organising the Great Yorkshire Show, but it does much more besides. The Society’s commercial activities fund our charitable work year round which covers a broad range and includes working with schools, our Future Farmers of Yorkshire group, the Yorkshire Rural Support Network and the Farmer Scientist Network. As the Society’s charitable activities manager, I have the exciting task of helping to make this happen.

Young people are the consumers of tomorrow and we need them to make the link between crops that are grown, animals that are reared and the food they eat. This is something which is fundamental to the Society’s work in supporting agriculture and rural communities.

More than 15,000 children and teachers visit the showground annually to learn about food, farming and the environment. The Great Yorkshire Show’s Discovery Zone for youngsters, including school parties, is full of free hands-on activities. Each June our Countryside Days event welcomes around 6,000 seven to 11-year-olds who enjoy a host of interactive workshops.

The success of food, farming and countryside education is highly dependent on the creativity and confidence of the subject teacher and we give teachers new skills to pass onto their pupils to inspire their interest in the countryside. The showground becomes an outdoor classroom for free teachers’ courses, and more than 4,600 have attended to date, enjoying everything from muddy maths to land art to creating a school garden. We know the outdoors provides a truly magical learning environment and we give teachers practical suggestions to help bring that to life.

Yorkshire Agricultural Society's charitable activities manager Elizabeth Hudson

Yorkshire Agricultural Society's charitable activities manager Elizabeth Hudson

Farming will face many and varied challenges in the years ahead and we need talented individuals at the heart of farming businesses and companies to help shape the industry of tomorrow. The Society plays its part in helping to address this by inspiring secondary school pupils about their career choices.

Our Careers in Focus event at the showground on Tuesday, October 4 will give almost 2,000 students the chance to attend a CV clinic, speak to representatives from colleges, universities and businesses, plus a host of industry professionals.

Someone for whom attending Careers in Focus proved life changing is Jimmy Fawcett, who attended as part of a school visit and went away with a career as an auctioneer in his head. He is now a full time auctioneer for Leyburn Auction Marts.

It is vital that children and consumers realise what a fantastic job this country’s farmers are doing in terms of food production and managing the environment that we all love. We welcome anyone who wants to share their passion for the industry.

For more information on any of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society’s activities please contact us on or through Facebook and Twitter.