School students pitch Agrifutures projects

ENTREPRENEURS: Kate Haines and Nicole Simes present their blogging tool for farmers.

ENTREPRENEURS: Kate Haines and Nicole Simes present their blogging tool for farmers.

Apps and blogs connecting farmers with each other and the wider community were popular as Year 9 Cleve Area School students pitched their entrepreneurial ideas to a panel of local experts on Friday.

The presentations were part of the Agrifutures program, run at a select few schools across the country encouraging agricultural-based entrepreneurship.

A panel of community members with agricultural backgrounds heard pitches from Year 9 students, with many addressing issues the students and their farming families face on a day-to-day basis.

Year 8 students involved in the program attended the pitches ahead of developing their own projects.

Improvements to the school chicken yard, weed resistant socks, a magnetic trailer hitch and safety upgrades to farming equipment were some of the ideas discussed.

Local judges Iggy Honan, Malcolm Peters and Geoff Rissmann gave the students feedback before scoring the pitches out of 60 points to determine a winner to face off against the top Year 8 team later in the year.

Two groups, on 53 and 52 points, were named winners and are now in the running to present their pitch at a national competition in Sydney.

Sharnee Roberts, Claira Weiss and Tessa Dunn earned the highest score for 'The Next Paddock Over,' a global social media site specifically for farmers aimed at combating isolation and improving communication within the industry.

Nicole Simes and Kate Haines were the other winning team with their pitch for 'Farmers Say,' a blogging site encouraging farmers to create content to educate the wider community both in regional and metropolitan areas on the little understood challenges of farming.

The two teams will continue to work on their pitches, with the overall winner to be announced in Term 4.