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Hay Inc Rural Education Program

“Give me 5 minutes and I’ll save you a lifetime” a quote used by well-known Riverina Sheep Classer Tom Lilburne and attributed to Neilsen Mills is used by Chris Bowman in his introduction to new Hay Inc. trainees. It is a classic quote as there are many tips and lessons from leaders in their field that can save hours of time and effort over a day, month, year or lifetime.

Passing on the tips of the trade to the next generation by the Hay Inc Trainers is what the Hay Inc Rural Education Program is all about. From expert sheep classers and stockmen who are Hay Inc volunteers along with trainers from Tocal College and TAFE hands on training is the focus of the program.

The Hay Inc Rural Education Program has commenced in 2022 with a full cohort of 15 participants for the 8th year of the program. Richard Cannon Hay Inc Chairperson said “The 2022 cohort of Hay Inc students are great example of the future of young people in Agriculture, they are all showing a very positive learning attitude, and although they have varying degrees of experience, they are all getting involved, and setting about extracting as much as they possibly can from the course.”

This first training week consisted of learning and refining skills in all aspects of sheep handling at Wyvern Carrathool. TA Field “Wyvern” have been great supporters of the Hay Inc Program since it started in 2014. “Wyvern” hosted the Hay Inc group for 3 days of the first training block. Other days during the week included on farm workplace health and safety at the Gibson family’s “Croidon” Hay, along with First Aid at Hay TAFE and operate 2 wheel and quad bikes by Tocal.
The participants then returned for the second training week in March where they learnt working dog training and management at Shear Outback delivered by volunteers and Hay Working Dog Club members Ed McFarland and Geoff McDougall Nutrien Hay. Nutrien have been a great supporter of the program this year with Hay Inc successfully receiving one of the Nutrien Ag Solutions Community grants to assist with equipment purchases for the organisation.

They then also took part in a 3-day shearing school at Paraway “Steam Plains” delivered by Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) who are a key partner of the program and have supported Hay Inc since establishment. The final day of the training week involved hands on training with stock water repair and maintenance, motor bike maintenance and tractors and pumps at the Cannon’s property at “Rosevale” Hay.

The Hay Inc Committee is also grateful to the support they have also received through the NSW Government Stronger Country Communities Fund which has assisted with the sustainability and promotion of the program.

Acting Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said a $181,121 grant from the NSW Government’s Stronger Country Communities Fund is helping the Hay Inc Rural Education program teach young people vital skills.

“Agriculture is the backbone of NSW and I’m delighted to support this program, providing young people from a range of rural and urban backgrounds with the skills needed to pursue a fulfilling and exciting career in the heart of our regions,” Mr Toole said.

Member of the Legislative Council Wes Fang said the investment by the NSW Government in the Hay Inc Rural Education Program will ensure the initiative continues to thrive, giving young people the opportunity to learn practical skills from older generations.

“By also offering mentoring and networking, the program teaches regional youth the valuable knowledge to pursue a career in the sheep and wool industry,” Mr Fang said.

“I am thrilled that the Stronger Country Communities Fund has given the Hay Inc Rural Education Program a sustainable future.”

Hay Inc are pleased to announce that they have also combined with the NSW Stud Merino Breeders Association (NSW SMBA) to deliver a Scholarship offered to graduates of the Hay Inc program.

NSW Stud Merino Breeders President Drew Chapman said “The NSW Stud Merino Breeders’ Association is pleased to partner with Hay Inc to develop this new scholarship. The NSW SMBA Trust believes in investing in youth and establishing pathways to encourage youth to embark on a career in our industry.

NSW SMBA President Drew Chapman also said the program would offer participants the opportunity to work with some of the leading stud operations in the state. “The Hay Inc program will provide much needed practical skills in a range of areas,” he said. “The scholarship will give recipients the chance to work on some of the leading stud operations across the state, along with other segments of the industry, which will enhance their opportunities to enter the industry on a full-time basis. We look forward to the announcement of the first recipient later this year.”

The Hay district is a fantastic location for young people to learn about agriculture and develop their careers in the industry. Hay Inc are also grateful to also have been recently supported by Westchester Group of Australia Pty Ltd who assisted with funding to purchase a shipping container and signage, for training equipment storage.

The Hay Inc committee are looking to organizing an Alumni event later 17 September 2022 to celebrate 8 years success of the program.

Photos available contact Hay Inc Program coordinator Sandra Ireson on 0439 938 119 or [email protected]
More information:

You can download this media release here.

Media Release 2022


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