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EKKA Agricultural Trip

Last week myself (Mr Huth) and 18 students from grade 8 and 9 travelled to Toowoomba and Brisbane to experience some agricultural opportunities that are not available in our immediate region.
We took off in the dark at 5am Thursday morning heading for Toowoomba. On the way to Roma going was slow as we had to dodge the pigs and roos. After a brief stop to stock up on soft drink, lollies and McDonalds we were back on the road and in no time arrived in Toowoomba. Here we met with Paul Blinco the region coordinator for Cows Create Careers and he took us through the Wilsonton Agricultural Field Studies Centre, Toowoomba’s premier agricultural campus. Here the students did some hands on cattle work, putting on halters and leading some heifers in a simulated show ring.
After this we took the students to the feedlot…. Or buffet at Sizzler, whatever you want to call it. They dined on cheesy toast and more jelly and ice cream than you would think possible to be consumed in a day. While we were their behaviour was perfect, with other patrons asking where we came from and complementing the group.
At 8:30am the following day we were on the bus to the EKKA after a feed of bacon and eggs at the hotel. Arriving at the EKKA we had a roll call, making sure everyone was still there. Students had the first half of the day to look at all things agricultural. Sheep dog trials were in full swing, dairy cattle were being judged in the second arena and the stud beef in the main ring. Students went through the pavilions looking at poultry, goats, pigs, and cattle of all shapes and sizes. The group met back together for a chance to experience a virtual reality paddock to plate tour thanks to Meat and Livestock Australia and for a milking and cheese making demonstration thanks to the Legendairy team at Dairy Australia. While I was sitting down for the first time all day, stuffing my face with a foot long dagwood dog, a call came through on the mobile phone. Assuming the worst I answered only to be told that a ewe in the sheep pavilion just gave birth to identical merino triplets. 
In the afternoon the students were set free into sideshow alley, spending what money they had left on rides and show bags while the teachers had a welcome break. Meeting back for the night show, we then filled the grandstands with prime seats to see the action. We watched the Rooftop express brumby muster, v8 ute show, freestyle motocross and the monster trucks. To finish the night off there was the fireworks spectacular and an autograph signing  We pushed through the crowds and got all 85 students back on to the coaches for a sleepy drive back to Toowoomba.
Morning came and we were packed and on the road by 7am, headed south of Toowoomba to the Harrigan dairy farm. When we arrived we met with Brett who had kindly donated our 2 calves to the school for this term. He showed us all through the milking shed, showing us how the machines work, where the milk is stored and how it is cooled . We said hello to some newborn calves that had only come about the night before and talked about waste management. All farm waste is re used and turned into fertiliser to grow more crops to feed the animals, taking things full circle. On site Brett also runs a commercial piggery where students were astounded by the size some of the boars
Before we knew it we were back on the road home. Stopping briefly for some more fast food in Roma and graced by some wonderful karaoke from the students on the home stretch. Since arriving back I have lost count of the amount of times I have been asked “When is the next Ag trip” and “where are we going next time” so I can only assume the trip was enjoyed by all. A big thankyou is also deserved by Jenny Peacock who gave up her time to drive the bus for us, Kate Womersley and Jasmine Neyland who also joined us for some crowd control.
Until next time.
Mr Huth.