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What happens to cow poo? Farmers zoom in to answer the big questions from city kids

Can sheep jump? And what happens to cow poo? They’re important questions from inquisitive young minds.

That’s why primary school pupils around Australia are turning to dial-a-farmer to get answers to some of nature’s burning questions.

The free virtual program sees farmers zooming into classrooms across the country, whether they’re state, private, catholic or home schools.

Smart Farming

The sessions are held on zoom for children across Australia. (Supplied: Kirsten Littlejohn)

One student said it was only the second time he’d spoken to a farmer.

“I would like to learn lots more about farming because there is lots of cool inventions, cool animals and it’s really fun,” he said.

There are few better ways for farmers to relate to kids than by converting acres to football fields and cattle weight to cars.

Bonnie Penfold, a beef producer and teacher from Meandarra in Queensland’s Western Downs, is one of six farmers sharing their knowledge.

“For a lot of kids, this is the only opportunity they get to even connect with a farmer, to say they know or have heard or have met a farmer,” Ms Penfold said.

“Hopefully it’s enough of an opportunity to inspire them to want to go out and learn more about agriculture and become part of the industry.

The subjects are linked to the Australian curriculum, covering topics like farm technology, sustainable farming and beyond the farm.

Woman sitting on a cattle rail speaking with three girls.

Farmer and teacher Bonnie Penfold is one of the six farmers involved. (Supplied: Bonnie Penfold )

Kirsten Littlejohn, from Kimberlin Education, is in charge of bringing the smart farming virtual classrooms to fruition.

She said it was amazing to see it come to life.

“Many of these kids perhaps have never been to a farm or been to regional Australia,” Ms Littlejohn said.

“It allows them to ask their questions and find out where their food comes from.”

“We have identified a need for bringing and offering metro kids that farm experience, especially at the moment with much of the country in remote learning.”

Kids teaching kids

It’s not just the adults doing the teaching, either.

Ms Penfold’s students are putting their teacher hats on to show city kids what growing up on the land is like.

“It’ll be great for them to say that no, these kids don’t have a movie cinema, they just have 40,000 acres and lots of cows,” Ms Penfold said.

“It’s good to show the difference between the two.”

Teelba State School student Ruby had a strong opinion on why city kids should know about farm life.

“It’s important to know what it’s like to be on a farm, so if there was a big fire and they had to move to a farm they would know what it would be like,” she said.

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