MAGS farm pro­duces the goods

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

A farm at a cen­tral Auck­land school has bred a prize-win­ning agri­cul­tur­ist.

Mt Al­bert Gram­mar School old boy Jor­dan Smith is the in­au­gu­ral win­ner of the Ahuwhenua Young Maori Sheep and Beef Farmer of the Year.

He is the shep­herd-gen­eral on the Kearins Bros farm in Te Kuiti.

Mr Smith grew up in Block­house Bay and be­gan work­ing to­wards his NZQA level 2 na­tional cer­tifi­cate in agri­cul­ture at the start of year 11.

The school’s head­mas­ter Dale Bur­den is clearly proud of the op­tions pre­sented to the stu­dents by hav­ing a farm at­tached to school grounds.

‘‘Some com­men­ta­tors from the pri­mary in­dus­try sec­tor have crit­i­cised schools for their lack of fo­cus on agri­cul­ture stud­ies, but at MAGS our farm gives stu­dents the op­por­tu­nity to go on to the many jobs now avail­able in the pri­mary sec­tor.’’

For the first time this year MAGS’ lease on the 10.8 hectare farm was re­newed for 99 years by its owner, the ASB Bank, rather than 33 as hap­pened pre­vi­ously.

‘‘This recog­nised the his­tor­i­cal link the farm has with the school and the com­mu­nity – it was es­tab­lished in 1933 – and also the op­por­tu­ni­ties it of­fers to our city stu­dents,’’ Mr Bur­den says.

‘‘This long lease, for a pep­per­corn rental, gives the school and com­mu­nity se­cu­rity that the farm will re­main in Mt Al­bert for the fore­see­able fu­ture.’’

Spring has the farm al­ready bustling.

There are a record 41 lambs, 14 piglets and four foster calves to pair with milk­ing cows.

Build­ings on the farm in­clude a one-stand wool shed with full wool­han­dling fa­cil­i­ties, pens to hold 150 sheep overnight, a two-stand walk­through milk­ing shed with milk­ing plant, an im­ple­ment shed, a unit for small an­i­mals and a man­ager’s res­i­dence.

Sea­sonal de­light: A record 41 lambs were born at the Mt Al­bert Gram­mar farm this spring.

Prize win­ner: For­mer Mt Al­bert Gram­mar School stu­dent Jor­dan Smith was named the Young Maori Sheep and Beef Farmer of the Year.

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