Longerenong Agricultural College student Tom Walker has been able to experience the business side of the Wimmera's variety of farming industries with the help of a Fox & Lillie Rural scholarship.
Mr Walker, aged 20, is in his second year of an advanced diploma in agribusiness management at Longerenong, just north east of Horsham.
Mr Walker grew up on a livestock farm Flinders Island off Tasmania's north-east coast in the Bass Strait and had never before seen the kind of wheat farms that the Wimmera is famous for.
"It's been really interesting learning about the different operations and then comparing it to home and seeing how things are done differently," he said.
"It's quite a different spot to home with all the broadacre cropping, which is almost like a foreign language to me having just come from purely livestock."
Mr Walker said the option to study at Longerenong first caught his attention via a friend's experience.
"I had a mate there who went a couple of years ago and he talked it up so I thought I'd go for a look," Mr Walker said.
"I went to an open day and really enjoyed it, saw what it had to offer, so I thought i'd do my advanced diploma there and see where it goes."
The scholarship support is provided by Fox & Lillie's wool marketing services division and aimed at providing Longerenong Agricultural College students with financial assistance towards their tuition fees.
The two-year $5000 scholarships provide students with financial assistance towards their tuition fees for the duration of their course and hope to engage young people who are looking to pursue a career in the agriculture industry and in particular, wool.
Mr Walker said the scholarship had "absolutely" helped him.
"It helps with your fees and pays for a few books here and there when you need books for assignments," he said.
"It sort of helps you out with bills along the way during the year so it has come in quite handy."
As part of the scholarship, students are required to undertake industry placement at Fox & Lillie's two divisions, Fox & Lillie export and Fox & Lillie Rural.
For Mr Walker, it will be a chance to get experience in parts of the sheep industry that he had not worked in before.
"On the first to the twelfth of June I'm doing two weeks placement with Fox & Lillie down at their branch in Melton," he said.
"I'm looking forward to that as I'll get a different perspective on the brokering part of wool, as I've done plenty of sheep handling but the brokering side I've never experienced much so I'm looking forward to understanding more of that."
Mr Walker said he had also been learning about how to run different types of farms at Longerenong.
"As well as all the farm labouring stuff and jobs around the farm, you learn about the running of the farm and managing it, which is becoming really important these days," he said.
Read more: Who was at the Wimmera Machinery Field Days
"You can feel how it is going to help you out in the future with management and running the books and paperwork."
The Fox & Lillie Group was established in 1948 and describes itself as a 100 per cent Australian family-owned and operated agribusiness with operations in the wool, aquaculture and seafood trading.
Fox & Lillie is now one of the top three buyers and exporters of Australian wool.
Mr Walker said he went through a multi-stage process to qualify for the scholarship, including an interview with Fox & Lillie woolgrower services division managing director Jonathan Lillie and marketing manager Bella Plunkett-Gillan.
"Before college started, I had to apply for the scholarship and answer a few questions about how it would help me and my background and where I come from, letting them know who you are and what you are interested in," Mr Walker said.
"I got listed for an interview; maybe half a dozen people got shortlisted for an interview.
"I went in and saw Jonathan Lillie and Bella and they talked about the placement and had more of a conversation to get to know us. It was quite interesting learning a bit more about Fox & Lillie as well."
Mr Walker said he was keeping his options open for after his graduation.
"Nothing is set in stone yet. I might go down the livestock path, more so sheep," he said.
"Before I do the Fox & Lillie placement I'm doing a placement at a Merino stud in NSW so I might see if they would be interested in having me back next year.
"I'm sort of playing it by ear at the moment and seeing what opportunities open up at the end of this year.
Mr Walker said he was grateful for Fox & Lillie's support while studying.
"They're a pretty part of an industry I want to join, and so I feel the knowledge I gain from placement will help me quite a bit," he said.
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox twice weekly from the Wimmera Mail-Times. To make sure you're up-to-date with all the news from across the Wimmera, sign up below.