Young farmers get essential skills from new programme I Cyn Smith, Growing Future Farmers

There is a gaping hole of farmers coming into the sheep & beef sector but there may be a shining light with the new farmer-led 'Growing Future Farmers' programme launching in Winter 2021.

“You can’t teach farming in the classroom. We provide the training, liaison and pastoral care for our registered farm workplaces to give our young people the start they need, including working pups!” explains Cyn Smith, GM, Growing Future Farmers.

Growing Future Farmers general manager, Cyn Smith

As a Change Maker this week on Sarah’s Country learns more about Growing Future Farmers with general manager, Cyn Smith who outlines the new programme:

  • The idea came from Tam & Dan Jex-Blake and grew with a passionate board of farmers from large hill country properties across New Zealand with 50 accredited farm trainers across the country.

  • The learning is outside of the classroom structured as a two-year programme where students learn in the paddock with qualifications and liaison managers in support with Eastern Institute of Technology in Hawkes Bay.

  • This is a chance for farmers to give back to the sector by training young people as a trainee as they build their capability alongside the everyday running of the farm over two years.

  • The farmer provides the student with a heading & huntaway pup so they should eventually have three working dogs for our young shepherds to get employment.

For information on the Open Days around NZ in July & August 2021, visit

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