Sowing the seed for future farmers

Students from a rural primary school in the central west of the state are adding broadacre crop farmers to their resume, writes Vivienne Jones.

Image: Next generation: Hermidale Public students walk through a wheat field ahead of planting their own crop.

In an innovative, cropping immersion project which has been brewing in the school community for a few years, the seven students at Hermidale Public School, on Wongaibon Country, will transform the donated paddock behind the school into a lush wheat crop this year.

Principal Skye Dedman said the 85-hectare paddock was donated to the school to use for the next three years by a local farmer, an ex-student.

“We have been wanting to do something like this for a few years, but with the drought it wasn’t the right time,” she said.

“This year, after local farmers had a pretty good year in 2021, we thought ‘now’s the time’.”

Mrs Dedman said local farmers had donated machinery, fuel and labour, with the paddock already tidied up, ploughed and the boundary road graded.

“It is a big project but we have had a huge amount of support from near and far,” she said.

Image: Future farmers: Hermidale Public School students Jimmy Smith, Oliver Sheather, Ruby Mudford, Ned Gunning, Abbie Smith, Marlie Jensen and Matilda Mudford in the paddock they are planting out with wheat.

The crop, which will be harvested later in the year, is estimated to generate $40,000 for the school.

The proceeds will go towards a cultural immersion trip for the students each year, with the 2022 trip planned for the Northern Territory.

“This is a three-year cropping immersion project to enable students at Hermidale Public School to build their knowledge in the practise of farming; working the land in a sustainable manner and the environmental implications facing the agricultural sector,” Mrs Dedman said.

The project will provide a hands-on approach to learning and demonstrate the value of working hard to gain incredible outcomes.

The students have already taken ownership of the project, with Mrs Dedman excited for the educational outcomes.

“They are just so excited and it is a great way for them to learn how much work goes into being crop farmers,” Mrs Dedman said.

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