Nick Staples is passionate about agriculture.

The Whanganui High School teacher grew up milking cows and has introduced a learning resource into the curriculum for his students to explore the industry.

The Down on the Farm learning resource from Agrication provides students with a platform to learn science and maths skills through agriculture.

So keen was student interest in this new addition that months later in June, a WHS team finished second in the TeenAg competition in Feilding.


Student participation was so high that Brad Markham of New Zealand Young Farmers announced that Whanganui will host a TeenAg skills day in September.

Staples was very excited about it.

"It will be an epic day, the group that we had finish second in Feilding have asked me if they can continue to participate and I'm more than happy to encourage that.

"I want my students to participate in it because the career possibilities in agriculture are endless, you could be milking cows or you could be selling equipment, anything."

More than 170 students took part in the Feilding competition, which featured modules on fencing, finance, nutrient management, livestock trading, tractor and quad bike safety.

"We practised for it at the Ag Challenge in Okoia, where the students were taught about things like break-fencing and connecting troughs," Staples said.

"They had been practising the theory questions that might come up in class too, so everything wasn't totally new to them and that's why they were able to finish second."

Staples said the students had learned plenty from the resources and competitions already.


"They're learning that farming isn't just putting on your gumboots and going out on a farm, there's a lot of precision science that goes behind it.

"There are a lot of fields involved in agriculture. They have to know about things like soil fertility, efficiency of equipment and how to identify weeds."

Staples has a group of about 20 Year 10 students all now involved with agriculture.

"They live in the best country in the world to explore these opportunities, but a lot of kids aren't doing that because a lot of city kids get side-tracked by gaming and things like that," Staples said.

"Kids are going to do what they want to do anyway, but as teachers we can just try to open their eyes to all of the possibilities out there."

A confirmed date, location and time for the TeenAg skills day in Whanganui is not yet available.