Sign language has been used to help explain career opportunities in the agri-food sector to hearing-impaired Christchurch pupils.

Almost 20 pupils from the van Asch Deaf Education Centre visited Brian and Louise O'Connell's farm at Dunsandel.

The visit was part of a major national project putting pupils from 100 primary schools on to sheep and beef farms.

''I loved it,'' year 8 pupil Anahera Strongman said. ''I liked Brian and his daughter Sarah telling us about what they do on the farm.''

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The education programme is funded by the Red Meat Profit Partnership and delivered by New Zealand Young Farmers.

''We want to get the industry on the radar of students and teachers so they're aware of the career opportunities,'' the RMPP's Di Falconer said.

Pupils were accompanied by a New Zealand Sign Language interpreter.

''It was a great opportunity to get a taste of how a farm operates and the effort and hard work it takes to run it,'' teacher Karen Pasco said.

New Zealand's red meat sector will need to find an extra 33,000 workers by 2025 to replace people retiring or exiting the industry.

- Central Rural Life