North Otago sheep and beef farmers, Ross and Jo Hay recently hosted the local Primary School on their farm, teaching them about food production whilst also shining a positive light on the food and fibre sector.
Jo says, “Being involved in our community and being a positive voice for our sector are two things that really excite me, and it was a privilege to have these two things intersect when our local Primary School visited.”
The pupil’s learning focus for this Term is ‘Energy from Food’ which included a whole day field trip, splitting their time between a horticultural business, a dairy farm and the Hay’s sheep and beef farm.
"We got to showcase the care and thought that goes into growing free-range pasture fed stock, how we look after the health of our animals with their welfare being a top priority, and how we grow the highest quality beef and lamb without the use of antibiotics or growth hormones."
“We explained that we want the pasture and supplements the stock eats to be a high-quality balanced diet and how we grow our own supplements to be fed over the winter months because grass growth is minimal. We also talked about rotationally grazing our pasture to keep it in ship shape condition.”
“It’s important for our future consumers to understand how all of this combined makes for a healthy red meat eating experience,” she says.
Jo also talked about the nutritional value of eating red meat using information from the Making Meat Better website, jointly launched by Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and the Meat Industry Association (MIA).
She says, “The kids were so intrigued to learn that lean red meat is a high-quality protein with iron, zinc and B vitamins. I think their parents were secretly chuffed when I explained the importance of eating their red meat with leafy green vegetables high in Vitamin C to aid the absorption of iron. They realised that they need a balanced diet too, and that in a small distance from their school most of the things they need for their balanced diet are grown.”
“Watching our auto-drafter weigh and sort the lambs really got their attention. The friendly farm dogs got a month worth of pats in a short hour or two. However, the highlight had to be them racing down the lane-way and rolling down the hill. Only one kid rolled in poo, which given the number of kids was surprising. Learning and making memories, I hope they loved it as much as we did.”
Making Meat Better
If you’re also interested in having conversations about how New Zealand’s red meat production is better for consumers compared to other global producers, then check out the Making Meat Better website – full of bite-size information you can drop into your conversations.