News

Farming and learning go hand in hand

Oathall Community College farm, in West Sussex, has taken delivery of a brand new red tractor thanks to donations from sponsors including West Sussex NFU.

The tractor was supplied by from Yeowart Agricultural Ltd - East Grinstead. Dave Gasson, the Sales Manager for Yeowart’s, pictured far right, was instrumental in the exchange as he has a longstanding relationship with Oathall School, having supplied many bits of machinery in the past.

The College farm is now the proud owner of a 75hp Massey Ferguson MF 5410 tractor, a 4WD model with a front-loader and bucket. The Haywards Heath based college, a comprehensive school for 11-16s, is developing as a centre of vocational and land based excellence. Its farm is an invaluable resource for the College’s 1,000 or so students, with structured links to all areas of the curriculum, and a thriving Young Farmers’ Club (YFC) branch.

All of this was made possible by School Farm Head, Howard Wood who has just won the prestigious times educational supplement's " lifetime achievement award" for the creation and use of the Oathall school farm as a whole school resource. Howard has been at Oathall Community College for 38 years and retires in two weeks time, so this is a wonderful retirement present.

Sussex NFU Adviser James Osman said: “Tractors are vital to the success of any modern farm business and West Sussex NFU was delighted to support Oathall Community College farm. This unique facility is helping young people to develop an enviable array of skills and encouraging future generations of farmers and growers. UK agriculture needs at least 60,000 new recruits over the next decade and Oathall is doing a great job in inspiring future farmers.”

Pupils involved in the College’s YFC learn stockmanship skills and have the opportunity to show livestock at annual agricultural events in southern England including Heathfield Show, in East Sussex; the South of England Show, in West Sussex; and the Edenbridge and Oxted Show, in Surrey. The farm boasts dairy cows, dairy calves, a flock of sheep, a 10 sow pig unit and horticultural facilities.

David Broad, Area Sales Manager for Massey Ferguson went along for the presentation of the new tractor and is pictured with students and head of the farm unit, Howard Wood.