The SA Next Generation Group has been fortunate to form a working connection with the SA Sheep Expo from the early inception of the state youth event. Open to young sheep enthusiasts aged 12 – 24 years old, the SA Sheep Expo is a three-day camp held at the Adelaide Show Grounds during the April SA school holidays. The expo provides participants an understanding of all aspects of the sheep industry. Handling, ring craft, shearing, genetics and environmental aspects to name a few. This year boasted record participant numbers of over 140, including interstate involvement. 

Once again this year, SA Next Gen were honoured to be invited by the SA Sheep Expo organising committee to provide an insight into the Young Farmer Challenge (YFC) to all expo participants through a series of fun and interactive sessions. Executive Committee members Andrew Hall, Sharna Juett, Courtney Higgs, Aiden Marshall and Sarah Hazel, had the opportunity to talk to each group of sheep expo attendees about their visions as a group, the sort of events they are involved in and what SA Next Gen is all about. The Rural Ambassador program was also widely discussed, with past and current regional and state Rural Ambassadors scattered through the senior groups of SA sheep expo participants. 

YFC Coordinators, Andrew Hall and Henry Scott made the most of the YFC equipment trailer. The trailer was purchased through funding provided by a grant to set-up an engaging and relevant Young Farmer Challenge team event by the ASA’s Emerging Leaders group in 2022.

In theme with the expo, young farmer challenges included included ‘walking the plank’, setting up a wool pack holder and wool bale rolling. Heat times were recorded as the groups came through to provide additional competition throughout the day, giving an extra incentive for ‘bragging rights’. We started off with the juniors setting the time record early. That record was held for a long time until the intermediate groups kept smashing each others record, right down to the last group who completed the challenge in 1 minute and 42 seconds.

It was really pleasing to see how many participants sought further information regarding Next Gen and the show movement by choosing to pick up our information flyers upon leaving the session. 

Building upon our support for this event and the youth involved, SA Next Generation Group have been able to provide SA Sheep Expo participants with the opportunity to apply for a bursary to attend the SA Sheep Expo. This year marked the second year that we have been able to offer a bursary for this event. We are very pleased to support two passionate young people, from two different age groups, to attend the Expo from a total of 18 applications. 

We would like to thank the SA Sheep Expo organising committee for continuing to provide the opportunity for SA Next Gen to showcase the Young Farmer Challenge and our group as a whole.