Youth offered unique insight at Sheep Expo
Buoyed by her experience at the SA Sheep Expo, university student Rina Haraguchi is looking to gain formal woolclassing qualifications.
GAINING practical experience in the sheep industry can be difficult for young people who do not come from a farming background, but the SA Sheep Expo is helping showcase potential agricultural careers to passionate youngsters.
Melbourne University student Rina Haraguchi had very limited experience with farm animals – gained through work experience and placements at school and university – before attending last year’s expo.
Ms Haraguchi was born in Japan and moved to Australia when she was 12, and is considering taking a woolclassing course this year after learning more about the wool industry at the expo.
“The experience gained in handling sheep and meeting new people with a similar mindset was a highlight as they were new experiences for me; things you don’t often get an opportunity to learn at university,” she said.
“Last year’s exposure to this definitely helped in that I now have a basic understanding of how to class wool and have developed a desire to learn more about it.
“I would highly recommend the expo to others and stress that you don’t have to come from a farming background or be an expert in sheep. You get to learn about everything and there is no judgement on those wanting to learn.”
This year’s SA Sheep Expo – the third since the event began in 2016 – will be held at the Adelaide Showground from April 18-20, and is open to anyone aged from 12 to 23 years.
This year’s interactive three-day program will be centred on the theme ‘The year of the ram’. Topics to be covered include wool – on and off-farm – sheep assessment and handling, commercial ram selection, nutrition, marketing, reproductive technology, genomics, a farmers’ challenge, breed options and industry careers and pathways.
Participants compete in age groups to maximise learning outcomes: 12-14-year-olds in the junior division, 15-17-year-olds in intermediate and 18-23-year-olds in the senior category.
Besides the education bursaries and prizes for each age group, there are also four significant scholarship opportunities open to applicants this year.
The major prize is again a study tour to New Zealand, which last year was won by Tess Runting, Baxter, Vic.