Thursday, 18 January 2024 11:55

Region's challenges shine a light on learning

Written by  Staff Reporters
Highly regarded trainer and triallist Guy Peacock will be showcasing working dog demonstrations over both days of the Expo. Highly regarded trainer and triallist Guy Peacock will be showcasing working dog demonstrations over both days of the Expo.

There's a serious message behind two new East Coast Farming Expo initiatives.

The Rural News Cadet Challenge and the Beef+Lamb NZ Station Challenge may have plenty of fun involved, but Expo organiser Sue Wilson says it’s all about teamwork and that’s crucial on any farm.

“Both of these challenges demonstrate how advantageous it is when teams work well together,” she says.

The Cadet Challenge is open to cadets from the various training farms around the region as well as ag students from high schools. It’s a “rustic MasterChef” style challenge that will see each team bone a joint of meat, cook it and plate it for a panel of judges.

For long-term Expo sponsor Rural News, the event is all about the future of farming.

Rural News has always been keen to back initiatives to bring more young people into the industry,” says general manager Adam Fricker on their sponsorship of the Cadet Challenge. “We’ve taken teachers on farm careers days, published ag-career resource handbooks, sponsored various young farmer/grower awards. The Cadet Challenge is a fun way to continue that. It will help cadets to build connections across the sector and test themselves.”

The Station Challenge focuses on weighing and crutching sheep and is judged on time and style. “Farming isn’t just about the physical work,” Wilson explains. “Maths and the ability to use technology is required as well. It is important to encourage the next generation of farmers in as many ways as possible.”

Beef+Lamb senior extension manager Mark Harris is looking forward to the new station challenge. “We have supported the Expo since the beginning as this is an event that brings a great range of high calibre seminar topics, exhibits and activities that are usually only associated with the larger field days to our rural community on the East Coast,” said Harris.

Wilson is hopeful farm owners and managers will be inspired to bring their whole teams along to the Expo.

“Many of the younger shepherds and shepherdesses experience so far has been more hands-on farm work, and the Expo is a chance to introduce them to so many other aspects of farming. All farmers should think of it as a team building day working on your business.”

The working dog demonstration from the highly regarded trainer and triallist Guy Peacock will also be hugely beneficial to many and is running over both days of the Expo.

“Shepherds and Shepherdesses love their dogs and will benefit from a training demonstration planned for both days of the Expo,” Wilson adds. “Guy will demonstrate techniques to help people get the best from their huntaways or heading dogs.”

Peacock says effective dog training is all about good processes and says key is to focus on getting those right rather than being results-oriented is the way to increase your training success.

The most asked question he gets is ‘why not use ropes’.

“I do use ropes but only when required to tidy up or sharpen movements on certain dogs,” says Peacock, who has been working with dogs for nearly 40 years. “I started fairly young, but training dogs properly began in the mid 90s with help from Les Knight and Paul Sorenson.”

He also praises the calibre of speakers at the Expo.

It’s an exciting programme at the two-day Expo that includes seminars, demonstrations and working dog training. It also offers a chance for farmers to build networks, develop relationships and connections across the multi tiers of the rural sector.

“The Expo is a great opportunity for our local farming community to have a day or two off the farm and connect with so many others who all share an interest in sheep and beef farming,” Wilson concludes.

What: East Coast Farming Expo

When: February 21-22, 2024

Where: Wairoa Racecourse

Info and Tickets: http://www.eastcoastexpo.co.nz/

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