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From cows to the classroom: back to school for NFF President

23 November 2012

The President of the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) will swap his workboots for a schoolbook on Monday when he visits a primary school in Melbourne.

Jock Laurie, a lamb, wool and cattle grower from Walcha in northern NSW will visit the 160 students of Level 1 and 2 at Antonio Park Primary School in Mitcham, who are learning about farmers and farming.

“Over the past few weeks, we have received a number of letters from young students at the school, asking us questions about farming, our animals and our produce. We know that as Australia becomes increasingly urbanised, a gap has opened in terms of people’s knowledge and understanding of farming, which is why I’m visiting the school - to tell the students about what it is that I do on my farm every day,” Mr Laurie said.

Jock will donate to the school a copy of the Yum Yum, Where Does It Come From? children’s book, written, illustrated and published by three rural women, Cathie Colless, Emily Colless and Deb Murray, to highlight where food and fibre comes from as well as the significance of farmers. Woolworths will also kindly donate apples for the students to enjoy, which will be delivered directly from the farm of Montague Fresh at Harcourt, near Bendigo.

The book, and Jock’s visit, comes following the release of a survey by the Primary Industries Education Foundation earlier this year, which found that student and teacher knowledge of Australia’s and fibre sector is alarmingly low.

Mr Laurie said the study, which found that 75 percent of students believed cotton was an animal product, was a call to action for the agricultural sector, parents and teachers.

Mr Laurie praised Cathie, Emily and Deb on creating the book and Antonio Park Primary School on teaching their students the basics about agriculture.

“After all, if children do not understand food or where it comes from, how can we expect them to be able to make healthy, nutritious and sustainable food choices in the future?,” Mr Laurie said.

“Food and clothing are among the most basic of all human needs, and it is great to see an inner-city school teaching their students about where these vital products come from and what goes into growing them,” Mr Laurie said.

Mr Laurie’s visit to Antonio Park Primary School, Maroondah Highway, Mitcham will take place between 12:40pm and 1:40pm on Monday 26 November.

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