If your child is set on a farming career send him to one of the Ministry’s agricultural colleges. This, in effect, was the message given to parents by Mr J T O’Brien, chief executive officer of the Northern Ireland Livestock Commission, when he spoke at the annual prize day of Strabane Agricultural School last week.
“Agriculture,” said Mr O’Brien, “was by far the most important industry in Ulster. A sound, basic training was essential and should be the aim of all those who want to make a successful career in it.
“Farming is becoming more specialised every day and greater emphasis is being placed on the business side,” he added.
“Bearing this in mind I would appeal to parents to give their sons the opportunity of furthering their education by undergoing a course at one of the agricultural colleges.”
Mr O’Brien had high praise for the students and their parents, adding: “But a lot of credit must go, too, to the principal, his staff and the Ministry of Agriculture.”
The school principal, Mr T Gibson in his report, said that the demand continued for the Strabane type of agricultural course and they commenced the term in March with the full complement of 32 students.
They aimed to give these young farmers a good introduction to the basic principles of farming.
“While we cannot possibly do everything we would like in the time available, we try to put the story over in a practical fashion and teach each student something about the skills of farming,” said the Principal.
They had neither the time nor the facilities to teach the skills of working with machinery or the maintenance of machinery, but they did try to teach the skills of stock husbandry.