Chris Bowman, Chairman of Hay Inc, quoted Will Roberts from Morven in Queensland saying “Merinos Build Communities”, when interviewed recently and at the Hay Merino Sheep Show.
This quote could not have been more evident with the spirit and support of the Hay Inc Rural Education Program this year.
The fourth intake of participants, after their final week of their training through Hay Inc Rural Education Program, graduated at the Hay Merino Sheep Show on Saturday 16 June 2018.
Chris Bowman thanked the sponsors and volunteers involved in the program and commented on the caliber of young people who took part in the program.
Chris said ‘everyone that had this group of trainees over the 15 days on their property or business was very impressed with their attitude, enthusiasm and focus on learning”.
He also encouraged the group of young women and men to have a good look at agriculture as a career stating “there are many opportunities becoming available at a time when demand for natural fibre and protein as a food source and Australia’s reputation with clean green products has never been better. There is already a shortage of qualified managers and staff, particularly in the livestock industry.”
Mr Bowman further pointed out the continued presence of Hay Inc graduates in the industry.
“It is encouraging to see previous years’ Hay Inc participants at the Show, all still keen in being involved in the industry, with Hay Inc 2017 participant Lachlan Watkin taking a key role in the event as an associate judge,” he said.
Heidi Stephens, Hay Inc participant graduating at the Hay Merino Sheep Show on Saturday, took out third place in the Don McNeill Memorial Junior Sheep Judging competition. Ms Stephens also won the competition in 2016 when she was still at school.
The inaugural Mathew Vick Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Hay Inc participant, James Lines, who received $400 for his commitment and dedication to the Hay Inc program.
“It was deeply humbling to be recognised and awarded the Mathew Vick Memorial scholarship, I will put the money away for further use in the agricultural sector, such as the AWI National Merino Challenge,“ Mr Lines said who traveled from Burra in SA to take part in the program.
“The Hay Inc Rural Education Program enabled me to learn new skills, better my existing skill set, gain confidence in myself and network with other young people from across Australia. The trainers’ experience and knowledge was invaluable and the nature of the course enabled me to contact and form professional networks with all of the committee members, volunteers and various people involved with the course. I would highly recommend this course to young people interested or currently in agriculture looking for a practical and diverse training program to further their skills.”
Hay Inc is now taking expressions of interest from anyone interested in taking part in the 2019 program.
Australian Wool Innovation is a key partner of the Hay Inc Rural Education Program, and were represented by Stuart Hodgson and Wendie Ridgley at the Hay Sheep Show.
“It is a great thrill for AWI to be involved in this wonderful program because we see there is benefits in training the next generation to work in the wool industry,” Mr Hodgson said.
“Their enthusiasm is impressive and we at AWI take our involvement seriously.”