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Farming on a fun-sized scale at SRUC Oatridge

Published Wednesday, 29th May 2013 in Study at SRUC news

Oatridge open day

The Farm Open Day at SRUC Oatridge Campus, run in partnership with Rural Connect, proved incredibly popular with locals in West Lothian this weekend, with an estimated 1,500 people through the gates.

While the sun shone on the farm, visitors were treated to a range of demonstrations – the sheep shearing, farriery and chainsaw carving all proving very popular.

Professor Bob Webb, Principal and Chief Executive of SRUC, who attended the event, said: ‘This event opened up SRUC Oatridge Campus to the local community and we saw excellent cross departmental cooperation which helped the transfer of knowledge from our students to the public on the importance of rural skills. There was also the more serious message of supporting our local farmers and rural businesses in increasingly tough times; a message which I think was taken on board by a lot of the visitors on the day. I was very impressed by the high number of visitors to the event - especially children, which I hope bodes well for the future of the farming industry.”

The competitive nature of visitors came out with a visit to the game fields, where hundreds of people attempted to out throw each other at the welly throwing contest, with some amazing distances of 30+ metres being achieved.  Binny Craig awaited the brave visitors who signed up for abseiling, hula-hooping kept others active, while those looking for a slower pace checked out the fossils display and met Uebee and Hakuna the owls.

Marnie and her family enjoyed the day hugely: “It was a day packed full of fun and education for our two children - and us too! Our son got to hold an owl for the first time and our daughter was particularly proud of the butter she made.”

The stands and stalls proved popular too, with plants grown by SRUC Oatridge’s own horticultural students selling well. All the students worked tirelessly throughout the day, commentating on demonstrations, explaining what goes on in the farm, and helping visitors make the most of their day.

The following day children were the focus at the Schools’ Farm Open Day which was well attended by S1s and S2s from local high schools. The day focused on different elements of farming, from cattle and sheep production to machinery, dairy farming and soil science; where many of the students relished in getting their hands dirty doing soil analysis. The  students and teachers enjoyed their first visit to a working farm, and learnt a lot about how food is really produced.

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