Farm gates open to share experiences

Pablo Ramirez and Sandra Velarde got up close with one of the Ireson's lambs.
Pablo Ramirez and Sandra Velarde got up close with one of the Ireson's lambs.

Local farming families hosted some city folk over the weekend of May 26 and 27 for some one-on-one rural education as part of FarmDay.

FarmDay is a scheme which sees farming families host city families for a day on the land and create a better understanding of just where their food and fibre comes from.

Joining in with the celebrations over the FarmDay weekend were Pablo Ramirez and Sandra Velarde.

The Peru couple visited Sandra, Matt and Pip Ireson at their Booligal, near Lake Cargelligo, property ‘Belmont’.

Ms Velarde said the weekend was fantastic.

“Our trip to Booligal was an experience we will never forget,” she said. “We are from Peru and want to learn more about rural Australia.”

Mr Ramirez, a city dog trainer, was eager to see how working dogs are used on farms and, with sheep work planned for the weekend, the Ireson’s dogs gave them a show.

“They took their (two) pups for the first time to the yards with the sheep,” Ms Velarde said.

With a senior working dog providing an example and some encouragement from Mr Ramirez, both pups were soon working the sheep.

“Pablo also had a go at sheep drafting,” Ms Velarde said. “That went so so.

After speaking with Mr and Mrs Ireson about farm management, marketing their beef, shearing, recent flooding and droughts and how these factors affect the choices they make, the couple said they came away with a better understanding of the day-to-day life of farmers.

“I think it is important for the city fellow to understand the joys and hardship of farm living,” she said. “It's a full time commitment, to the land, to your animals, your family and to yourself.”

Federal Member for Calare, John Cobb congratulated local families who opened their properties to city for the weekend.

"(It shows them that) there's a lot more to a woollen jumper than seeing it on a clothes rack in a shop and the milk in the fridge at the supermarket certainly doesn't just come from the tap," he said.

Mr Cobb said a recent study which found three-quarters of Year 6 students surveyed thought cotton socks came from animals, and just under half didn't know bread, cheese and bananas all came from farms proved just how important FarmDay is.