THE city audience gathered in the suburban school hall wanted answers to their tough questions and they wanted them now.
When you are president of the nation's biggest farm lobby group you expect a grilling, and Jock Laurie is not a man to shrink from the hard questions.
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"What's your favourite sorts of farm animals?" student Jacinta asked the big, burly farmer from Walcha.
"Have you ever had twin sheep?" Callum quickly followed.
Then this curly one from Jamie: "How many tractors have you got?"
When the children in level 1-2 at Antonio Park Primary School in Mitcham started learning about farms this year, they wrote to a veritable Who's Who of agriculture for information.
The National Farmers' Federation president was one.
He was so impressed when he read the letter he promised to drop in and answer their questions face to face next time he was in Melbourne.
So here he was, and last week's hour-long show-and-tell session on farming had the kids spellbound.
If the teachers had not intervened after 20 minutes of question time, Mr Laurie would still be there being grilled about how coloured wool is made, and is it annoying looking after so many animals.
The kids learned how Mr Laurie ran sheep for wool and for "lamb chops", which thankfully raised no tricky questions about how they came to be.
Mr Laurie also artfully explained lamb marking: they get an ear tag - "just like getting an earring" and they put a ring on their tails "to keep their tails clean".
After presenting the kids with a book on farming called Yum Yum - Where Does It Come From?, it was time to hand out some samples - pink lady apples.
Mr Laurie did the honours before heading out to inspect the kids' own farming efforts.
Antonio Park Primary is a five-star sustainable school. The kids, with the help of their teachers, grow vegies, run chooks and keep a couple of goats.
Level 2 co-ordinator Jenny Semken said they were thrilled Mr Laurie took the time to come and visit.
"It was fabulous. They enjoyed meeting a real farmer and asking him questions."
"Few children get the chance to do that these days," she said.
Mr Laurie said as more and more people lived in cities, there was a huge gap in their understanding of farming.
A survey by the Primary Industries Education Foundation found student and teacher knowledge of Australia's food and fibre sector was alarmingly low.
"Food and clothing are among the most basic of all human needs and it is great to see an inner-city school teaching their students about where these vital products come from and what goes into growing them," Mr Laurie said.
The Year of the Farmer might have passed many by, but these kids had just had a real education in what it's all about.
Ms Semken said Mr Laurie had already inspired at least one of the young students to become a farmer himself - that's if the answer to one question doesn't put him off.
"How much money do you get every day?" Paige asked.
"Not enough," Mr Laurie said with a grin.