Dairy industry insight shared

Allendale East Area School year 5 and 6 students are learning about the dairy industry by caring for calves Cookies and Cream through the Cows Create Careers program.

For three weeks the students will rear and care for the two three-week-old calves with a local dairy farmer teaching them how to care for the animals and demonstrating skills such as animal husbandry, feeding and weighing.

The program was originally established in 2004 with only nine Victorian schools taking part but has now grown to over 230 schools across Australia with more than 11,500 students completing the project last year.

Allendale East Area School agricultural science teacher Danielle Tulak said it was the school’s first time participating in the initiative for three years due to COVID-19.

“Without programs like this it is hard for children to grasp the importance of the dairy industry and they often take for granted where dairy products come from,” she said.

“It is about opening their eyes to where milk comes from and what career opportunities are provided here in our region because we have such a job shortage and the dairy industry is probably one of the biggest employers locally.

“Usually, I would do it with the older students highlighting more of a career focus, but this is more just giving them an opportunity to look after these cute little calves and learn a bit of responsibility and dairy knowledge along the way.

“Normally the calves would be on loan and returned at the end of the program, but these animals have been donated to the school by local dairy farmers Michelle Rowe and Ben Walker.

“The students will feed the calves milk every morning for the rest of the term and once they are weaned they will live at the school in our paddocks for potentially 18 months until they are ready to go to market.”

Upon completion of the project students will participate in an interactive online forum later in the term.

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