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Beyond the Bale : March 2016
The 2016 National Merino Challenge (NMC) is heading to the Sydney Showgrounds on 14 and 15 May to encourage the next generation of the wool industry. Now in its fourth year, the annual NMC has involved more than 225 students and 40 teachers from 30 different secondary schools, universities and registered training organisations. Run by AWI, the two-day NMC involves presentations and demonstrations from industry professionals to enable young people to develop their industry knowledge, skills and networks. The NMC is guided by a Steering Committee which includes representatives from across the sheep and wool and education industries. Students participate in seven ‘mini-challenges’ across two days, testing their knowledge of Merino fleece, production and breeding and selection principles. Designed around existing industry tools and techniques, students learn practical skills such as condition scoring, feed budgeting, ASBVs and visual assessment for animal selection and AWEX wool typing. Other highlights of the 2016 NMC program include a careers session in which a panel of young professionals already in the industry provides students with advice on entering the agricultural sector, a presentation on the importance of effective woolhandling techniques for good clip preparation, and a shearing demonstration. An NMC Industry Dinner will also be held enabling the students to spend an evening with a range of wool industry participants, from woolgrowers to brokers and researchers. Zoe Lynch from Charles Sturt University who was part of the winning team in the tertiary division of last year’s competition said, “I found the National Merino Challenge a really great opportunity to network with people within the industry and with people doing similar subjects to what I do, which is Agricultural Science. Coming to the National Merino Challenge is outstanding if you want a career in wool.” Tom Tourle, who attended the 2013 event with Dubbo's TAFE Western Institute and is now a Young Farming Champion for the wool industry (see page 45), said: “The reason I wanted to be involved with the National Merino Challenge was the thrill of the competition but also to catch up with other young passionate people in the industry. It was a great weekend, we learnt so much about Merinos and wool which has been very valuable. It’s a great educational experience and it can really invigorate so you see that there is a very bright future in wool.” MORE INFORMATION To register for the 2016 National Merino Challenge in Sydney or for more information, visit www.awinmc.com.au Registrations open on 21 March and close 22 April. 46 ON FARM Registrations open on 21 March for this year’s National Merino Challenge which is being held in Sydney. The National Merino Challenge is an AWI initiative designed to allow young people to engage with the Merino industry by developing their knowledge, skills and networks. A demonstration from last year’s National Merino Challenge, with students being shown what to look for when selecting rams and ewes. 2016 NATIONAL MERINO CHALLENGE
In the Shops - March 2016