Fane Valley Support Agri Education at Markethill High School
23rd June 2017

RE: Fane Valley, Markethill Livestock Sales & NFU Mutual Collaborate With Local High School

Fane Valley, Markethill Livestock Sales and NFU Mutual have joined forces to support the growth and development of the new agricultural and land use GCSE and the 2year BTEC extended certificate being delivered at Markethill High School with an investment towards the build and completion of a state-of-the-art polytunnel grow-house.

The three local businesses are delighted to assist and equally contribute towards such an exciting and fundamental academic focus that will further enhance the skills and education of the future local farmers and next generation agri-industry workforce.  The on site grow-house will help facilitate the examination of soils and crops composition, plant biology, crop production and biodiversity in a range of local habitats.

Speaking at the official launch Mr. James Maxwell, Principal said;I would like to congratulate Mrs Greer, Head of Agriculture, and her team on the tremendous vision for Agriculture and its delivery within school. The high-quality learning activities and experiences, both in a curricular and extra-curricular capacity, are enriching the opportunities, which our pupils have to develop knowledge and skills in expanding industries such as the agri-food sector. The strengthening of links with Higher Education, such as Harper Adams University, also helps to emphasise the many pathways available to our pupils. I also wish to express deep gratitude to Fane Valley, Markethill Livestock Sales and the NFU Mutual Armagh, for their financial sponsorship of the polytunnel infrastructure. Their assistance has enhanced the school’s local links with industry, and we know that this resource will serve the children who attend Markethill High School for many, many years to come.

Trevor Lockhart, Fane Valley Chief Executive remarked; “Fane Valley is excited to partner up with Markethill High School, one of Northern Ireland’s leading secondary schools, to support and promote the education of agriculture for local students. We believe the new polytunnel initiative will significantly benefit learning and encourage a new passion for farming and agri-food.  As a local business Fane Valley has a responsibility to help lead and shape the next generation within our sector and what better way to assist than through this interactive partnership with a school, it’s staff and their pupils.”

Hampton Hewitt – Markethill Livestock Sales said; We are delighted to support this innovative project. It is important that young people are given the opportunity to develop interests outside of the classroom which may assist them when deciding on a future career. Agriculture is Northern Ireland's most important sector, and we hope that young people who formally would not have considered a career in agriculture or horticulture may now pursue it.”   

Howard Pillow, NFU Mutual Armagh commented; “NFU Mutual and the local Armagh agency is delighted to be involved with this local agricultural initiative. It is extremely reassuring to see the passion and effort which has been directed towards this educational project from both the school staff and its pupils and of course the local businesses. We all share in the vision and wish the school and the agriculture department, headed up by Mrs. Greer all the best for their future growth.”

Pictured: (L-R) Hampton Hewitt, Amy Hewitt - Markethill Livestock Sales, Trevor Lockhart - Fane Valley Chief Executive, Paula Greer – Head of Agriculture (MHS, Howard Pillow – NFU Mutual Armagh and James Maxwell – MHS Principal, with students Milly Greer & Matthew Menary, both year 11 Agriculture and Land Use GCSE students.