Schoolchildren set to ‘meet the farmer’ at 12th annual Suffolk School Farm and Country Fair

AN annual one-day event which aims to rejuvenate interest in farming and the countryside will this year see 4,000 children aged between 7 and 9 from across the county visit the home of the Suffolk Show.

Suffolk Agricultural Association’s School Farm and Country Fair, now in its twelfth year, will take place on Thursday, April 26, at Trinity Park.

The hugely successful event is now a firm fixture in the school calendar. More stewards than ever before have agreed to give up their time to help out, with a record 196 stewards volunteering.

Schools have booked to attend the event from all across Suffolk, bringing pupils to meet farmers and other agricultural professionals to learn about where their food comes from, how it is made and how it reaches their table.

Pupils and teachers will be treated to a number of live demonstrations in the display ring which include sheep shearing, gun dogs, ferret racing and falconry. Other exciting activities going on throughout the day range from the historic farming timeline to the chance to meet Suffolk Punch horses and visit a wildlife area and ancient woodland trail.

Each school is paired with a farmer steward who acts as their expert for the day to ensure that the pupils understand as much as possible from this unique experience. Many farmers then continue that relationship after the event by arranging school trips to their farms and visiting schools to give educational talks.

Bill Baker of Baker Farms, chairman of the School Farm and Country Fair organising committee, said: “This event provides the ideal opportunity for children to learn more about what goes on in the countryside around them. “We recognise the importance of educating today’s school children in food and the countryside. This event aims to reconnect the countryside with young people and that is why we partner up each school with a local farmer.

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“The key to the success of the day is the quality of the exhibits and this year is no exception. Children are given a “hands on” experience that enhances their learning and understanding. The day brings all aspects of food production and management of the countryside around them in one safe and accessible environment.

“Children get back on the bus enriched and enthusiastic and continue discussions about what they have learnt in the classroom and homes and this is what gives us most satisfaction from hosting this event.”