Cattle day hopes to herd in the crowds

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Shuttleworth College is playing host to the National Red Poll Cattle Society Day on Sunday.

The staging of the important event at Old Warden Park demonstrates the growing reputation of the College as a centre for the training of cattle men and women.

Head of Agriculture Education Anne-Marie Hamilton, the daughter of beef farmers, is keen to ensure that Shuttleworth College is seen as the “future of farming”.

The Red Poll herd at Shuttleworth began with four cows and was boosted by the arrival of Hinwick Zulu who was secured thanks to a contribution by Jamie Oliver who filmed a farm-to-table TV series episode at the campus in 2013. Zulu went on to sire a sizeable herd and is now considered the “father of the 40 strong family.”

His place as stock bull has been taken over by Heathgate Duke, who will be on parade at the event.

“We are going for Premium Health Assured status here at King’s Hill Farm at the Shuttleworth College campus and this accreditation will demonstrate that we help set the standards for training and education,” said Anne-Marie.

But its not all about cattle. The college has also been training the sheep shearers of the future.

Sheep shearing is a skill which traditionally was handed down from father to son, and at Shuttleworth College that experience is shared with other students.

David Hughes of Freehand Farm, Baldock and his apprentice son Charlie represent the fourth generation of a farming family. David, who used to shear up to 200 sheep a day, now helps to pass on that expertise to young farmers at Shuttleworth.

Anne-Marie says: “It is vital for us to have the help of real farmers like David so we can, in turn, support others in the farming industry by training young men and women in these traditional skills.”

“All of our students who are leaving this summer are going on to higher education at university or have secured employment - a couple of them in New Zealand. Shuttleworth is the future of farming.”

Sheepdog Bluey or Marchup Blue to give him his pedigree name, has been coming to the farm since he was 12-weeks-old. He is mascot for Agriculture Education and an ice-breaker in helping students make friends.

Visit www.shuttleworth.ac.uk for details on courses.