Jo and Rachel Horler, Maundrils Farm Partnership, Highbridge

Joe and Rachel Horler, Maundrils Farm who were the 2013 Dairy Employer Award Winners, explain how they help and encourage young people into the dairy industry here in Somerset.

“Maundrils is an organic dairy farm near the Bridgwater estuary, milking pedigree organic Holstein /Friesians and Jerseys. We have hosted primary school visits since 2006, following completion of a short CEVAS course ‘hosting educational farm visits’ and have links with West and East Huntspill schools, West Huntspill pupils only have to walk 200 yards to the farm entrance. We have based school visits on current curriculum topics and liaise with the teachers when planning a visit.

Our first Open farm Sunday event was held in 2009 – this year’s saw 160 visitors – we were fortunate to have a great team of helpers – farmers, vets, advisors, to help with these events.

We have also school and college work experience students. One, who came for 2 weeks experience in 2012, has returned to help us after finishing a course at Bridgwater college and has gone on to participate in a ‘Better Herdspersons course’ continuing to build on knowledge and skills learnt to date.

 

It takes time to support a young person but it is very rewarding when they learn and gain confidence to work independently and it is evident they are enjoying the work.

We have attended school career evenings and given talks to local groups inc this year the local St John’s ambulance cadets.

This year we were invited to take part in Burnham on Sea Food and Drink festival as a taster session – promoting dairy farming to a wider audience, using slides and props and enthusiasm for what we do.

Throughout 2011 we submitted a monthly column to the local parish magazine ‘ Farming on the Footpath’, each month covered a different topic such as care of calves, silage making, milk recording.

blackboard R&J HorlerMore recently, to help promote dairy farming, we have put up a blackboard/ messageboard next to the footpath which runs through the farm yard and weekly farm news updates are posted for walkers to read. Also,with the help from our youngest son, we launched a facebook page for Maundrils. Please LIKE it to see what we post on the page.”

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Glossary

Agriculture: Is the science and business of cultivating soil, producing crops, and raising livestock.

Agribusiness: is a generic term applied to businesses involved in some or all of the following agricultural production systems: crop production, including farming and contract farming, seed supply, agrichemicals, farm machinery, wholesale and distribution,processing, marketing, and retail sales.

Agronomist: is a person who engages in the scientific study of plants and plant materials as fuel, feed and food. Do you love studying plants and want to know more about the impact it has on agriculture? If so, you may want to consider agronomy as a career choice.

Apprenticeship:   is a real job with training so you can earn while you learn and pick up some recognised qualifications as you go…

Artificial Insemination: is the introduction of male reproductive cells into the female reproductive tract by artificial means,commonly abbreviated AI.

CV: a curriculum vitae (CV)  is a written document that provides an overview of a person’s experience and other qualifications. It is typically the first item that a potential employer encounters.

Farm assurance: are voluntary schemes which establish production standards covering food safety, environmental protection, animal welfare issues and other characteristics deemed to be important by consumers.   

Further Education: Education above school age but below university level.

Herds-person : refers to someone who works with the daily maintenance, health and breeding of dairy and beef cattle.

Higher Education: education at universities or similar educational establishments, especially to degree level.

Horticulture :  is the science, technology, and business involved in intensive plant cultivation for human use.

Husbandry:  is the science of breeding and caring for farm animals.

Land-based: is the term used for a vocational agricultural based courses.

Quota-milk: Every country in the EU has a limit to the amount of milk that is allowed to be produced- this is its quota. The total quota is divided up between all the dairy farmers in the country- individual quota is the number of litres of milk they are allowed to produce each year- there are penalties for producing too much.

Ruminant: An animal that ‘ chews the cud’, they digest more of a plant than single stomached animals by having a rumen ( the first of 4 stomach chambers) where the plant material they have eaten are fermented by micro organisms to produce proteins and sugars the animal can digest.

Silage: Grass or other crops that have been cut, allowed to wilt but not completely dry out and are preserved in plastic wrapping or in a large clamp or pit. Silage is fed to livestock in the winter when fresh grass is not available

Traineeship:  is an unwaged education and training programme with work experience that is focused on giving young people the skills and experience that employers are looking for.

Vocational Education: is education that prepares people for specific trades, crafts and careers at various levels from a trade, a craft, technician, or a professional position.

Zero grazing: Fields of grass are grown but the animals are not allowed to graze them. Instead grass is cut regularly and taken to the animals.