Pupils get ‘history lesson’ in NZ wool from expert

Members of the Timaru Girls’ High School Young Farmers Club (from left) Katelynn Coleman (15),...
Members of the Timaru Girls’ High School Young Farmers Club (from left) Katelynn Coleman (15), teacher in charge Georgia Guilford, Jodi Johnson (14), Neve Jones (16) and Poppy Miles (18) sought information on the process of commercial wool from Mulcahy Wool Merchants owner Barry Mulcahy (third from left) in Timaru. PHOTO: GEORGE CLARK
Pupils interested in a farming future have taken a proactive approach to understand the country’s agricultural history and potential future.

Recently, members of the Timaru Girls’ High School Young Farmers Club have sought information from South Canterbury’s wool industry experts to understand the future of New Zealand’s wool sector and strategies around how to approach a competitive international market.

The group of six attended a "history lesson" at Timaru’s Mulcahy Wool Merchants to learn the stages of wool from sheep to store, from owner and wool buyer Barry Mulcahy.

Mr Mulcahy stressed the importance of the next generation understanding what a great fibre wool was to use.

"There is a generation that missed out on the know-how of wool due to marketing from man-made fibres. The industry has got to teach a generation how to get back to where we were.

"I am quite happy to have people interested in education to come through and learn something. We have everything at our fingertips."

Timaru Girls’ High Young Farmers Club teacher in charge Georgia Guilford said it was their third wool-related trip, with one more coming up.

"We went to Tim Black’s NZ Merino reclassing operation, had Herb Ross speak to us about his experience as a wool classer and gave the girls an insight into the wool and shearing industry. Next, we will go to the Canterbury wool scour at the end of the month."

Club leader Poppy Miles said it was important to understand how the industry worked and build contacts to get into a rural career.

"It is all about getting a broad knowledge and as we all want to be involved in the sector, in one way or another, getting out into our backyard and learning from industry experts is super important for us.

Neve Jones believed it was not only important to understand the future of the wool sector, but all areas.

"We have covered everything from dairy farms to alpacas, cropping, fencing, factories, freezing works. It is fun, joining a Young Farmers club is definitely worth it."

The group is pupil-led which means they organise all of the guest speakers, events and fundraising.


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