RAISING AWARENESS: Rural Ambassador entrant Shawnee Collier makes friends with a poddy calf at Gympie Saleyards yesterday. Gympie’s Rural Ambassador will be named at the annual Show Ball at the Pavilion on Saturday night.
RAISING AWARENESS: Rural Ambassador entrant Shawnee Collier makes friends with a poddy calf at Gympie Saleyards yesterday. Gympie’s Rural Ambassador will be named at the annual Show Ball at the Pavilion on Saturday night. Renee Albrecht

Helping our country kids become the future of farming

GYMPIE Show Rural Ambassador entrant Shawnee Collier is implementing a program to help get children involved in agricultural businesses, no matter where they live.

The Poddy Calf Raising Awareness Project is designed to give children the tools and skill sets they need to be able to purchase their first calf, raise, feed and care for it.

Ms Collier said this was in conjunction with using their calf as a business project - budgeting for the feed they need to look after the calf, and how much they need to make to profit off the sale of the calf.

"Programs of this kind have been proven to give children who have never been exposed to the agricultural industry more confidence in the area as well as great life skills," she said. This program will provide children with a better sense of the worth of money and is designed to give them the life-long skills that most other first jobs would not be able to offer."

Ms Collier is close to a 10-year-old boy who has raised and sold poddy calves.

Asked about the skills he learned from raising poddy calves, this is what he had to say to Ms Collier:

"I have never had the desire to wake up at 5am in the morning, but when your income comes from a calf that needs feeding twice and you have the responsibility of its survival, it's worth it.

"After purchasing the calf I then had to work out a budget to feed the calf twice a day whilst ensuring I was purchasing the milk powder for the correct price.

"I had to do this to make sure I minimised waste when making up the batch each day. I also had to ensure the product was stored correctly in order to use an entire bag and get full capacity out of that batch.

"I had to ensure that the animal was well watered and had room for growth.

"I also had to monitor sales reports to decide when was going to be a good time to sell.

"I now believe I have a great work ethic and I never thought I would have been able to achieve all of these things at 10 years of age.

"I am now an entrepreneur."

More information at Shawnee's Facebook page.

Gympie Times


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