American’s student’s taste of Mid-Ulster

Exchange visitor Liza Poet, catches up on the local news as she reads the Mid Ulster Mail. INMM3213-247ar.
Exchange visitor Liza Poet, catches up on the local news as she reads the Mid Ulster Mail. INMM3213-247ar.

A YOUNG American student has been experiencing a special taste of what farming life is like in Mid-Ulster and other areas of Northern Ireland, thanks to an exchange programme by the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster.

Liza Poet, who hails from a small mixed farm of 60 acres in eastern Colorado where most farmers grow maize, wheat and beef cattle has spent her time in Northern Ireland with four different host families, including the Mills family in Moneymore.

The 22-year old is experiencing farm life in Northern Ireland thanks to a partnership between Young Farmers and 4-H, the American youth organization for anyone between the age of 5 and 18.

On Liza’s own family farm, her family raise pedigree Brown Swiss dairy cows, a small beef heard, pigs, goats and chickens. After high school, she went to Colorado State University to study Agricultural Business and Animal Science, a degree she completed this May.

While on exchange here in Northern Ireland, Poet has had the opportunity to live with four host families; Willie Wilson, the past President of Young Farmers, in Omagh, Gaston Wallace’s family on a Holstein dairy farm in Nutt’s Corner, William Cochrane’s dairy farm near Coleraine and of course the Mills family with their suckler herd near Moneymore.

Speaking to the MAIL about her experience Liza said: “I have absolutely loved every family that has taken me in over the past month. The hospitality here in Northern Ireland has helped me feel right at home when I am thousands of miles from it.”

As part of this exchange, Liza has visited places all over Ulster.

She sites The Ulster American Folk Park, Giant’s Causeway, the walls of Derry were among her favorite tourist attractions and said tours of places like Balleyrashane, Ditty’s Home Bakery and Laurel View have given her a more in-depth look into some of the treasures of Northern Ireland.

Liza added that she also enjoyed the day to day life on the farm: “Seeing the different practices on farms here in NI has been so valuable for me to take home. While all of them may not fit our environment, having seen ideas from here helps promote creative thinking and reevaluate why we do a particular process.”