MURTOA farmer Tom McGrath hopes to promote the wool industry and shearing at this year’s Wimmera Machinery Field Days.
Mr McGrath approached field days manager Murray Wilson and asked if he could run shearing demonstrations at the field days this year.
It will be the first time in more than a decade that the annual event will feature shearing.
Mr Wilson said Mr McGrath would do demonstrations in the livestock block on Tuesday and Thursday.
“It’s a great way to promote the wool industry and shearing,” he said.
Mr McGrath said there was a skill shortage in the region and he hoped to encourage more young people to take up shearing.
“It’s a great career opportunity for anyone, especially for young people – it’s a great way to get a head start in life,” he said.
“If anyone is interested in physical labor, it’s the perfect industry to get involved with.”
Mr McGrath said he wanted to run the demonstrations because he was passionate about the industry.
He said he would bring his own sheep and equipment to the field days to shear.
“Hopefully it’s good weather – fingers crossed it’s no hotter than about 27 degrees,” he said.
Mr McGrath said he was shocked to learn that there hadn’t been shearing at the field days in a long time.
“The field days is all about machinery and the hand piece would be one of the most used piece of machinery on the farm,” he said.
Mr Wilson said he wanted to make the livestock block at the field days more of a hub.
“The last time we had shearing was in about 2005 or 2006 – it’s been well over 10 years since we had a demonstration,” he said.
“While the field days has a big focus on broadacre farming, there are a lot of good breeders out there and the sheep industry is still a big part of this area.
“It’s something we want to make sure we don’t lose because a few years ago, our exhibitors in the livestock block started to decrease.
“The field days is a promotion of agriculture and that includes the sheep and wool industry – it’s an area that goes way back and was probably older and stronger than cropping in the early days.”