Clueless Townies in Field Study

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Byline: Anna Lognonne Rural Affairs Correspondent

City dwellers' woeful lack of knowledge about country matters is to be tackled by a new course at a North college.

Northumberland College is reaching out to those who struggle to identify a Limousin steer or a Bluefaced Leicester ram.

The Townies Guide to Farming is an eight-week evening course being held at Kirkley Hall College, near Ponteland, for people interested in how their food is produced and British farms operate.

The course, which starts on May 7, follows recent research published by the National Farmers' Union which revealed urban Britain has never been more disconnected from its rural roots.

The survey discovered almost a fifth of Britons don't know yoghurt is made from milk, fewer than two in 10 people know 75pc of the UK is farmland and two-thirds have never met a farmer. Course organiser Sandra Bain said the course should appeal to people of all ages and is aimed at those with little or no knowledege of farming.

Each week a different topic will be discussed such as arable, sheep, beef, and dairy production, as well as hill farming and agricultural machinery.

There will also be farm visits, including an optional excursion to Northumberland College's hill farm Carlcroft, and demonstrations, such as sheep shearing, to help people understand what goes on down on the farm.

Mrs Bain said: "It will be a fairly broad course and we're going to try to cover all types of livestock production, including poultry and pigs, as well as looking at arable crops and discussing topics such as milk quotas. …