Cows for schools program

The Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association (NTCA) Cows for Schools program was first established in 2017 to engage with and educate NT children from the wider community, not just those from pastoral backgrounds. Originally developed from a similar program run by the Centralian Beef Breeders Association (CBBA), the program saw a massive expansion in 2019. Previously run exclusively in Darwin, the program was taken Territory-wide with additional schools being added in Katherine, Tennant Creek and a joint program with CBBA in Alice Springs.

The program involves providing a two-dimensional wooden cow to classrooms and asking the students to decorate the cow to a theme provided by the Northern Territory Cattleman’s Association (NTCA). The process allows students to learn about the Northern Territory pastoral and beef industry and have fun at the same time. The cows are then put on display at the local show with winners receiving prizes that can be used within the classroom.

In addition to having the competition reach more areas, NTCA representatives were able to visit classes in Darwin and Katherine and talk to teachers and students about the competition and its theme. This year’s theme was Eco Cows, Farmers Caring for the Land and was about the sustainability of beef production and the hard work that pastoralists do in managing the environment. This interaction with classes and the education they received from the presentation showed in the quality of cows entered this year.

While Darwin and Katherine were run primarily by NTCA staff, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs required the help of volunteers. CBBA member Nicole Hayes was able to coordinate the program in Alice Springs and Tennant Creek teacher Kris Civatrese was able to coordinate in Tennant Creek. Kris in particular did a fantastic job in getting cows out to Daly Waters and other remote schools.

At the Katherine and Darwin shows, NTCA staff ran a popular vote to determine who the public’s favourite was. At Katherine, nearly 150 total votes were tallied on the Friday morning and afternoon, with cows awarded their winners ribbons in the afternoon. In Darwin, cows received nearly 300 votes on the Thursday and Friday morning with the winning cows awarded at lunchtime on Friday by Hon Paul Kirby, Minister for Primary Industry and Resources.

Sponsorship for the program is invaluable. Ridley and Territory Rural contributed generously which helped fund construction of the cows and the prizes. The Cabinet Shop in Alice Springs also donated some cows towards the program.

Thanks goes to the CBBA, Kris Civatrese, Territory Rural, Ridley, The Darwin Pensioners Workshop and The Cabinet Shop in Alice Springs without whose help, Cows for Schools would not have been possible this year. This year’s winning cows were:

Alice Springs

Grand champion: Bradshaw Primary School, Class 5 Priestly

Tennant Creek

Grand champion: Mungkarta School


Grand champion: Katherine South Primary School, Class 3/4 Scott

Reserve champion: Clyde Fenton Primary School, Class 3/4 Mackander

Highly commended: Katherine School of the Air, Combined Preschool, T, 1 and 2 Class


Grand champion: Roseberry Primary School, Special Education Class Jones

Reserve champion: Sacred Heart Primary School, Class 6 Priest

Highly commended: St Paul’s Catholic Primary School, T/1 Bonson

Last updated: 25 September 2019

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