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Beyond the Bale : September 2019
NATIONAL MERINO CHALLENGE 2019 ON FARM 33 33 NMC involves hands-on learning under the guidance of wool industry professions. Pictured is Australian Wool Network’s NSW wool technical officer and auctioneer Cassie Baile. Students testing their condition scoring skills to optimise ewe nutrition. Students learning shed skills during a shearing demonstration. Careers advisor Charles Impey facilitated a careers session in which students were provided with advice on entering the agricultural sector from a panel of five young professionals already in the industry, from left: Luke Stephen, Technical Specialist Sheep Breeding for NSW DPI, based at Armidale; Stephanie Boyce, Trainee Wool Buyer at Segard Masurel (Australia) Pty Ltd in Melbourne; Wool Classer Audra Field from Mudgee; Molly Faull, AWI Project Coordinator Processing Innovation & Education Extension from Sydney; woolgrower Alex Wilson from Crookwell. As part of the planning process for the 2019 NMC and to maximise interest in the event, the NMC was promoted at regional workshops, resulting in an increasing number of contacts with schools, colleges and teachers, especially in NSW, Victoria and Tasmania. Train the Trainer sessions were also held for teachers at ag schools and colleges, to generate renewed interest in Merino sheep while students undertook their studies, and also to ensure the colleges fitted the 2019 NMC into their programs. Through continued liaison and webinars with the schools and colleges, Students from 12 schools participating in hands-on activities at an AWI regional workshop held at Hugh and Heather Camerons’ The Yanko property at Jerilderie in the Riverina of NSW. Presenting training in this commercial operation gave the students a genuine and practical wool-growing experience. Attending the workshop were more than 120 students from across the Riverina and northern Victoria: Ballarat to Narrandera, Hay to Moama. AWI has linked training discussions with the commercial sheep environment. This has been helpful in inspiring students, even from non-rural high schools, to consider the place of sheep in agricultural operations. The use of lifetime ewe concepts, AWI dry feed cards and commercial scenarios of wether lamb and wool markets were well received by young people as it provided clear examples detailing how management decisions can increase production in commercial operations. By using commercial figures, the workshops were also able to capture the interest of those students less focused on individual enterprises but more interested in the business of agriculture. 2019 NMC: GENERATING INTEREST IN SHEEP
In the Shops - September 2019