East Durham College hosts inaugural event for agriculture students

Jan 5, 2024 | Leisure & Lifestyle

As part of its ongoing commitment to showcasing the fantastic work of students, East Durham College ran its first-ever stocksmanship event at the Houghall campus just before Christmas.

The stockmanship event has run throughout the first term of the academic year as part of the agricultural department’s plans to deliver an ambitious curriculum. The underpinning principles of the department’s plans are to offer experiences and opportunities that go above and beyond the core curriculum to enhance students ’ skills and aid with their industry development.

Each student had the opportunity to either work with a home-bred lamb or bucket-reared calf and take their chosen animal through the processes required to ensure they’re show-ready. Through practical sessions, students worked with their lecturers and peers beginning with halter training and familiarisation with their surroundings. As the show date became closer students participated in a showmanship masterclass with industry professional Michelle Gilson to brush up on their handling skills and learn how to perfect dressing their animals in preparation for the show. They also had the opportunity to attend Darlington Farmers Auction Mart’s Christmas prime stock show and sale to see industry examples of showmanship and gain an insight into different classes of livestock external to those present on the college farms enterprises.

Students competed in three different classes prior to the Christmas break which certainly brought out their competitive sides but most importantly that teamwork ethos which is instilled into them and a core value of the department. Judging duties come show day fell upon local farmer and producer Philip Raw who ably carried out his duties meticulously. The students were judged on effort, commitment, record keeping and turn-out on the day. Quality, conformation, and breeding of the stock was not judged to give every student the opportunity to shine.

Sam Coote, Agricultural Course Manager at Houghall Campus says “I’d like to congratulate our hard-working students for their patience, diligence, and resilience. The commitment and effort demonstrated by every one of them evidences that hard work does pay off and they should be immensely proud of their achievements.”