HANDS ON: Monto SHS Cattle Club members are getting valuable experience working with animals.
HANDS ON: Monto SHS Cattle Club members are getting valuable experience working with animals. Mackenzie Colahan

School Cattle Club granted brand new yards

CATTLE Club is back bigger and better than ever at Monto State High School this term after significant upgrades to the school's yards.

The $44,000 facelift was made possible thanks to a state government grant through the Gambling Community Benefit Fund as well as a sizeable contribution from the school.

The month-long project was completed two weeks ago and students got their first look at the finished product when school recommenced on Tuesday.

Monto SHS Agriculture teacher Toby Worley helped design the new yards and praised the team effort from the school and community volunteers.

"I believe the old yards were built in the 60s and they needed an upgrade to provide a safer environment for the students and animals,” Mr Worley said.

Agriculture is a compulsory element of the curriculum for students in grades seven and eight, and is offered as an elective course for grades nine through 12.

Cattle Club runs three days a week during the students' lunch break, providing the 34 participants an opportunity to gain additional experience handling cattle.

The region's show season is now in full swing and cattle club members are travelling the show circuit showing their cattle and participating in junior judging.

"They all have a keen interest in grooming, showing, parading and generally looking after the cattle,” Mr Worley said.

"It's an opportunity for those who don't necessarily enjoy the academic side of school to get hands-on experience in something they're passionate about.”

There is an endless demand for work in agriculture and Mr Worley said the students were learning real-world skills they will use in their careers.

"For every agriculture graduate from a tertiary education facility, there are 10 jobs or more for them to go to,” he said.

"The industry is crying out for people to work and it's a very rewarding industry to be involved in.”

The upgrade has led Monto SHS to consider expanding the program to allow students from schools in the southeast to come up and use the new facilities.

"Students that don't have access to these facilities could come and learn about animals and the agriculture industry,” Mr Worley said.

"Whether we go ahead with that I'm not sure but the option is there.”

Several parents volunteered their time to assist in dismantling the old timber yards and Jim Radel was contracted to build the new facility.

"There has been tremendous support from the community with monetary donations as well as cattle and goods,” Mr Worley said.

"It's really helped us out this year and we appreciate it.”

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