February 09, 2018

Long-time Find a Farmer volunteers driven to educate

Lisa and Hamish Lile have hosted primary school children on their Otorohanga farm eight times over the last few years through DairyNZ’s Find a Farmer programme.

The Lile’s are passionate about teaching children the value of dairy farming and showing them the enjoyment they gain from the farming lifestyle and the care that goes into looking after their cows, land and people.

“We love educating and trying to reduce the rural-urban divide,” says Lisa. “Children ask so many questions about how the cows are milked and where the milk goes – they’re very inquisitive.”

The Lile’s recently hosted a herd of Otorohanga South School children, who got to see and touch the cows and taste fresh milk.

Even in the rural South Waikato town, only about a quarter of the children had been on a farm and the class had enjoyed delving into the topic prior to their visit.  

“The children loved the farm visit and have been buzzing ever since,” says teacher Laura Rumbles. “We were lucky with the weather and our farmers were amazing,”

“We learned how the milking machine worked, from the cups to the tanker. Every student had the opportunity to milk a cow by hand and sample its milk.”

The Lile’s believe that farm visits play a crucial part in shaping the public’s understanding of dairy farming.

“A lot of people who have come onto the farm are people from the city – they’ve come from urban-rural areas and don’t know much about dairying.”

“We know a couple who’ve moved to Otorohanga from Auckland and their perception is now completely different to what they see portrayed in the media. The farm visits provide a real farm experience and a more positive and realistic view of dairy farming.”

If you are interested in hosting a school visit on your dairy farm, register at dairynz.co.nz/find-a-farmer.
Schools can sign up to DairyNZ’s Find a Farmer programme at rosieeducation.co.nz/find-a-farmer.