Myerscough College and University Centre has welcomed Minette Batters, President of the National Farmers’ Union, for a special visit and tour, focusing on the key role the College plays in the agriculture sector.
Minette Batters was accompanied by NFU North West Regional Director, David Hall, where they met with staff and students from agriculture and agricultural engineering, had a tour of Myerscough’s state-of-the-art facilities and took part in demonstrations and discussion forums.
The visit began with a tour of Myerscough’s Engineering Centre, and a visit to the Colleges Agricultural Engineering Workshop, to observe student precision farming activity, before the party headed to Lodge Farm and Myerscough’s sector-leading Food and Farming Innovation & Technology Centre (FFIT), to sample a series of demonstrations with staff and students.
This included a display of the College’s Dutch Spotted Sheep Programme and Embryo Transfer Programme, as well as demonstrations of the technology in beef production at Myerscough’s Livestock Innovation Centre on the site, including the unit’s Growsafe system, as well as bedding and stocksmanship trials, as undertaken by Myerscough degree students as part of their study programmes.
It was then over to Lodge Farm’s Dairy Unit, to see the latest innovations in milk production, such as Myerscough’s AfiMilk system and parlour feeding systems, in addition to cow welfare and a discussion and demonstration on the use of thermal imaging cameras on livestock for early detection of lameness in unborn calves.
There then followed a lively discussion forum, featuring participants from Myerscough’s Young Farmers Leadership Academy (funded by Prince’s Trust), and senior College management, agriculture lecturers, as well as heads of areas. Myerscough’s E-Learning team were also on hand to give a detailed demonstration on the growing use virtual reality in the agriculture industry and how Myerscough was leading the way in its development.
Minette Batters, President of the National Farmers' Union, said: ‘’It’s absolutely incredible the work that Myerscough are doing for the farming sector.
‘’I have loved looking around the College’s facilities and meeting students; the work that students are doing at Myerscough is really encouraging for the future of farming. It was the first time I have ever seen Dutch Spotted Sheep being kept – and I have seen a lot of sheep!
'’I’ve been particularly impressed with Myerscough looking towards the future with both innovative thermal imaging photography and use Virtual Reality – to be immersed in the Dairy Parlour via the VR headsets and to hear the cattle as if one was actually there was amazing.’’
David Hall added: ‘’Thank you to Myerscough for their hospitality. It was great to see the fantastic work the students are doing and the investment the College has made.’’
Alison Robinson, Chief Executive and Principal of Myerscough College, said: ‘’It was a fantastic afternoon. Minette was accompanied by David Hall, NFU Regional Director, who is also a College Governor, while Edwin Booth, our College Patron and Chairman of Booths co-hosted the event.
‘’They were all incredibly impressed by the facilities and resources, friendliness and professional of our teams, the investment in technology to support learning and our fantastic students.
’Our degree students were fantastic ambassadors for the College and for agriculture, highly articulate and passionate about their research and findings, while our Level 3 (further education) students were quietly confident, getting on with their work with professionalism and confidence. Minette and David were delighted to see so many girls on our programmes! Meanwhile our Level 1 learners were so enthusiastic and knowledgeable, and a huge credit to themselves and the College.
’Thanks also to our Young Farmers Leadership Academy students – they are great ambassadors for their industry and posed some very good questions to Minette during our discussion forum.
‘’Minette now has a much better understanding of us as a College and University Centre and hopefully the event will help her to be a very good ambassador for Myerscough College in the future.’’
The main photograph (L-R) shows Edwin Booth (College Patron), David Hall (NFU North West Regional Director), Minette Batters (NFU President), Tom Gerrard (University Centre Myerscough agriculture student), James Oddie (Director of Farming Innovations and Operations), John Wherry (Deputy Principal Resources), Alison Robinson (Chief Executive & Principal), John Wherry (Deputy Principal Resources), and Craig Thompson (Head of Agriculture).
Watch the video of her visit below:
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by Dave Salmon