A Guide to Calf Club
Each year rural schools around New Zealand hold events that encourage children to take an active interest in the welfare and presentation of an animal of their choice.
Originally the day was known as Calf Club even though children exhibited animals like lambs and goats, but with fewer children now having access to 'farm animals' the day has become known, in some areas, as Pet, Livestock or Agriculture Day, with events for all classes of animals, pets and handcrafts.
LIC strongly supports New Zealand's dairy, beef, deer and sheep industries and recognises that there are young farmers who work hard each year to select, prepare and show young animals at these school events.
This website provides information and guidelines to help you and your child select, train and show a pet - and most importantly, ensure everyone enjoys the experience.
A history of Calf Club
Dairy cows came to New Zealand on sailing ships with early settlers during the 1800s. By the early 1900s, the industry was prospering and growing with farmers joining together to form herd testing co-operatives (which would, in time, become today's LIC) and dairy factories to process the milk their herd produced.
The earliest recording of the forerunner of today's calf club was in 1911, when the Boys and Agricultural Group began in Otago.
As the adult side of the industry grew, so too did the junior. The natural partnership of children and young animals was encouraged as farmers recognised the benefits to be gained by children having the responsibility of training and caring for a young animal.
In regions around the country, the enthusiasm of farming parents combined with local schools gave life to Calf Club. And so it has been for nearly 100 years.
Many dairy farmers and their children look back with affection at the time they spent selecting, feeding and training calves for Calf Club.
The benefits derived from involvement in Calf Club extend beyond the dairy industry to personal qualities that have value in many spheres of life - motivation, commitment, responsibility and compassion.
Today Calf Club, or its modern equivalent, is held each year in a large number of schools across New Zealand dependent on the support and patronage of generally rural communities and their supporting structures.