Cereals to inspire urban students with new tour

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Cereals is opening its doors to 60 urban schoolchildren for the first time this year, to inspire them to look at potential careers in farming, engineering, science and technology.

The 14-15-year-olds are coming from schools in Nottingham, Loughborough, Derby and Leicester, and very few have had any exposure to agriculture before. “This will be a great experience for the pupils and possibly open their minds to a future career in agriculture,” says Chris Ingram, design and technology teacher at Lees Brook Academy, Derby.

Organised by Natalie Noble at Agri-hub, alongside NFU Education – Cereals’ equality, diversity and inclusion partner – the visit will include tours of the NIAB Soil Hole, Syngenta Sprays & Sprayers Arena, and exhibitors like Rothamsted Research, Newcastle University and Harper Adams University to learn about the latest innovation and research.

Science teacher at Nottingham Girls’ Academy, Syra Mahmood says the Dirt and Discovery Day will give students the opportunity to see cutting edge farm machinery, drones and robotics in action, alongside interacting with young, diverse role models in farming.

“This trip not only enhances the national curriculum but gives students from different backgrounds the opportunity to gain culture capital and knowledge. Girls are under-represented in STEM and so I hope this trip will drive interest in it and show how exciting and diverse the world of science is.”

As well as educating students, there’s plenty of innovation and practical advice on offer for farmer visitors. The event will feature 400 exhibitors and sponsors, 80 speakers, four stages and 144 new exhibitors.

In the seminar area, farmers will be able to absorb the latest thinking on carbon trading, reaching net zero and environmental services – and get the opportunity to quiz industry leaders, including NFU president Minette Batters and Mark Spencer, Minister of State for Food, Farming and Fisheries.

In the Great Soils, Great Crops seminar, farmer, Angus Gowthorpe, will explain his work with the Yorkshire Agricultural Society Farmer Scientist Network and Newcastle University to produce a new online cover crop resource to improve soil health.

Visitors can also enjoy many demonstrations, including the Drill Demo Arena, Drone Zone, Isuzu Off-Road Experience, Inter-Row and In-Row Hoeing from Garford, as well as working demos from Agriweld, Hardi and New Holland.

The Bednar & Case IH Arrive & Ride will allow visitors a unique experience, with a seated trailer tour running alongside machinery and equipment in action. Tick your interest when you order your Cereals ticket.

At the new Cereals Stories Stage, inspiring farming personalities tell their stories about how they got into the industry and what they have contributed and continue to give back. Speakers include Cereals host farmer Gregor Pierrepont, discussing his family connection to the Multiple System Atrophy Trust, to which half of all ticket sales will be donated.

In the Agronomy Zone, the winter wheat and barley feature is back with a larger number of winter barleys, giving growers the opportunity to walk among them for side-by-side comparison. There are also new crop plots and trials, including those from James Hutton and the International Barley Hub, Amstel Agro, Bionature and Emerald Research.

New this year, the AgAnalyst Academy promotes best practice in precision farming by working closely with progressive farmers, their advisers and precision technologists, to accelerate the profitable adoption of precision agriculture. And the NAAC Drainage Hub promises lots of tips to consider when putting in land drainage.

With such a comprehensive line-up, visitors are in for a treat, says event organiser Alli McEntyre. “With so many exciting features on offer, growers will leave the event inspired, with lots of ideas to try out on their farms. And hopefully the school visit will inspire the next generation of farmers, scientists and engineers in this vibrant and diverse sector.”

  • The two-day event is being held at a new site this year – Thoresby Estate in Nottinghamshire – on 13-14 June. www.cerealsevent.co.uk.