MAGS farm produces the goods
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.