PIA students visit the Customs Dept at Christchurch Airport by Mrs Sarah Foley-Smith

Primary Industry Field Trips to NZ Customs and Jeff Gould's Dairy Barn

Last Thursday Level 1 PIA students visited NZ Customs at the Christchurch Airport courtesy of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). This follows on from student interest in the MPI module at the Young Farmers Career Day earlier in the year. Students were able to see the dogs in action and volunteered to pose as the baddies with hidden items of food for the dog to find. We were able to see how the x-ray machines worked and were shown through the lab where prohibited items are tested/cleaned and stored for future reference. Of particular interest was the bird of paradise, cane toads and snakes. It was a valuable lesson in the importance of border security and how our tourist industry, while generating income, poses a potentially huge risk to our Primary Sector.

Next up was a visit to Jeff Gould’s Dairy Barn. What an amazing operation! Jeff’s farm recently featured in the weekend newspapers and we wanted to see what all the fuss was about. The class was able to see technology in action from the dairy platform with individual feed mixes for each animal and data collection from the cows as they are milked, to the memory-less foam used as beds for cows in the barn. The visit has generated much discussion within the class regarding the pros and cons of the system. In particular, the aspect of being future proofed against potential environmental rule changes seemed to be a large positive.

Thank you so much to Chris Gumley (NZ Customs) and Jeff Gould (Aberystwyth Dairies) for hosting our visit.