Farmer Time celebrates successful first year

Farmer Time, an education programme that connects New Zealand school students (Years 1 – 8) and their teachers with farmers and growers across the country, proudly announces a highly successful completion of its first year.

In Business4 Minutes

Over 1000 students participated in the Farmer Time initiative during 2022, with the programme receiving an enormous amount of positive feedback from participants.

Farmer Time National Coordinator, Marie Burke says “It’s been amazing to be a part of this programme from the inception and see it grow so much. Our hard work to match teachers with farmers and growers has paid off and we can’t wait to see where it can go from here.”

Starting with a small pilot group of eight farmer-teacher pairs in term one of 2022, Farmer Time expanded quickly to reach over 40 pairings by the end of the year.

Feedback received from participants has been overwhelmingly positive. Survey results indicate that 100 percent of classes thoroughly enjoyed the Farmer Time sessions, and teachers agreed the programme contributes significantly to developing students’ awareness of the work carried out by food and fibre producers as well as shedding light on the numerous career opportunities available within the primary industries.

Notable statistics from the survey include:

  • 100 percent of teachers rated the programme as highly valuable for their class, with all respondents indicating their willingness to recommend Farmer Time to other teachers.
  • 91 percent of teachers reported successfully connecting the ideas and discussions from Farmer Time sessions with further in-class learning.
  • 90 percent of farmers expressed their intention to continue participating in Farmer Time, with the remaining indicating they would be interested in returning to it in the future.
  • All of the eight New Zealand curriculum learning areas were covered.

Emma McElrea, a Year 2 and 3 teacher from Northland School in Wellington says of her involvement with Farmer Time, “Farmer Time is an incredible tool to help bring real-world examples to the New Zealand curriculum learning areas in a unique way – being able to literally bring them to life.”

Teacher Emma McElrea

McElrea says “Our farmer, Mairi Whittle has been incredible to work with, we’re learning so much and our whole class has formed a real bond with Mairi and her boys.”

Whittle, a sheep and beef farmer from Taihape speaks very highly of her Farmer Time experience, “It’s been an honour to be a part of Farmer Time in conjunction with Emma. I feel like I’m forming a real connection with the students who didn’t initially know much about farming but are interested to learn more.”

“My family and I take for granted what we know about farming, so it’s heartening to share parts of farming life with students who might not otherwise get this chance. We look forward to seeing their excited little faces and love the questions they think of.”

Looking ahead, Farmer Time is set to continue building on its successful inaugural year and expand its reach to even more schools and farmers.

Burke encourages farmers and teachers to become involved with Farmer Time, “We are currently taking registrations for term three and four. Go to to find out more”