George: a national figure in farming

George the Farmer with co-creators Ben Hood and Simone Kain.
George the Farmer with co-creators Ben Hood and Simone Kain.

The South East’s own George the Farmer will add another notch to his belt, named the national ambassador for National Agriculture Day on Tuesday, November 21.

George the Farmer’s co-creator Ben Hood said the accolade was a great honour for both him and co-creator Simone Kain, who was recently named 2017 AgriFutures runner-up rural woman of the year.

“To be a National Ag Day ambassador is such a great pat on the back for us and it really is a great honour for us as well because George is all about educating kids about where their food and fodder come from, all about telling kids how important farmers are to our everyday lives, and educating kids on that agriculture is an amazing industry and an innovative industry, and something they can look to for great careers for their lives,” Mr Hood said.

“We’re really passionate about planting that seed early for kids, as early as possible, so that when they start going through later primary and into high school that they know that agriculture is an industry that they can really change the world in.”

As part of the influential role George will appear on the Today Show on Ag Day, singing, dancing and cooking with Michael Weldon (2011 Masterchef runner-up) – all to promote the national event.

George the Farmer activity sheets and teachers resources will also be on the Ad Day website for download and Mr Hood has written an Ag Day song with an important message.

“That’s a song I wrote to celebrate people in ag because a lot of people don’t realise that people in agriculture can be in the farm or they can also be in the city working as scientists or doctors or anyone like that...there’s a huge amount of people that work in agriculture all through Australia,” Mr Hood said.

After success with their video about potatoes, George and his co-creators will also be launching a new educational video about wheat, its production and harvesting, to coincide with National Ag Day.

“It’s great with our videos the kids get to learn the whole process behind paddock to plate, and we’ve also had a lot of parents that have said ‘we watched the potato video and we didn’t know how potatoes are grown, or how they’re seeded, or how they’re harvested,’ so it’s really cool that even parents are getting educational value and entertainment out of our video,” Mr Hood said.

The trio has just returned from regional tours around Victoria and the South East, and Mr Hood said the experience with George the Farmer had been a “whirlwind” since his creation in 2013.

People of all ages and demographics fall in love with George instantly.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with how George has been received throughout Australia,” Mr Hood said.

“(Kids) just love it, they love getting up and having a dance with George, and we had kids singing at the top of their lungs our potato song and we love beef.

“Farm kids love George because he’s aspirational and inspirational, they read George’s books and they go ‘that’s what happens on my farm’ or they can see themselves in George’s kids, and city kids love George because he’s telling them stuff they don’t know about the farm and educating them about the farm.”

In exciting news locally, George the Farmer will be putting on a free performance before the Naracoorte Christmas parade for the kids to enjoy.