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Young Country

Butcher a cut above the rest

Superior knife skills have earned Nolton Laing a trip to Australia with the Pure South Sharp Blacks team to compete in the World Butchers’ Challenge. The 24-year-old works for Harris Meats in Cheviot, north Canterbury, and is one of four new members selected for this year’s team of six. After trials in Auckland, team manager Todd Heller and team captain ... Read More »

Earning the trust

After three years as a fully fledged stock agent, Callum McCrostie reckons he’s made the right career choice. The job requires a thick skin, persistence and the ability to bounce back from setbacks. Seasonal and market conditions can also make a stock agent’s job more challenging in a competitive industry. Twenty-eight-year-old Callum served his year-long cadetship as a trainee livestock ... Read More »

A well-rounded shepherd

When Mark Baxter’s parents leased a farm near Dannevirke he was offered the job as head shepherd. Rebecca Harper reports it is an opportunity he’s making the most of as he works towards his goal of farm ownership. Photos: Graeme Brown Mark Baxter recently bagged the Tararua Shepherd of the Year title and his $4000 in prize money went straight ... Read More »

Dogged determination

Trading heavy machinery for her first shepherding job has Justine Blackburn on track towards realising her farming dreams. Growing up on her parents’ beef and deer farm near the King Country town of Taumarunui, 26-year-old Justine always had an interest in farming. After finishing high school her first summer job was for a local agricultural contractor and ended up lasting ... Read More »

Training, trends and trials

I concluded the training of heading dogs in my last column and next month I’ll begin to outline the steps I take to train my huntaways. But this time I thought I might share some observations associated with the training of dogs in general. Information and resources relating to dog training have become a lot more accessible in recent years. ... Read More »

Face to Facebook help

Hamish Clarke is passionate about many things in farming, especially mental health. The young farmer has launched an initiative via Facebook called Dear Youth, sharing a series of short stories from young adults who have experienced a mental illness. Through his own challenges, 26-year-old Hamish has learnt how important it can be for young adults who have overcome a mental ... Read More »

Young shepherd makes good

Young Wairere shepherd Tom Gordon wowed the judges with his impressive knowledge of genetics and clear career goals to lift him to the top of the pack in the recent Wairarapa Shepherd of the Year competition. Announced at a field day held at 2016 Wairarapa Sheep and Beef Farm Business of the Year winners Jim and Brendan Varty’s Alfredton property ... Read More »

Fighting fit for farming

“There’s no better feeling in the world than winning a fight, and that’s a fact – there’s no better feeling than getting your hand raised at the end of a fight,” Brendan Varty says. And the 29-year-old Alfredton sheep and beef farmer has what it takes to win the fight, both in Muay Thai kickboxing and in farming. Brendan and ... Read More »

Hatching the perfect plan

Jax Flintoff’s motto to give anything a go has led her from high-country hills to dairy sheds and on to the theatre stage. Sam Tennent found that she has spread her wings yet again by working on a Taranaki chicken farm. Photos: Ross Nolly Not one to fence herself in, Jaclyn (Jax) Flintoff has tried her hand at many career ... Read More »

A sweet view on life

Bryce Hooten didn’t let blindness at 19 slow him down – he and his right-hand woman and wife Sue used upskilling and lots of “bloody hard yakka” to build a successful beekeeping business. He told Amanda Saxton how the reward is semi-retirement breeding queen bees with lots of bach and launch time chasing snapper. Perched in an amphibious vehicle with ... Read More »