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World’s Best Young Shepherds Flock to France



World’s Best Young Shepherds Flock to France

Beef + Lamb New Zealand is sending two young Kiwi shepherds to France this week to take on the world's best in an international test of sheep farming skills.

Katey Craig and Mitchel Hoare will represent New Zealand at the second World Young Shepherds Challenge, in Auvergne, 30 September–1 October.

Katey, 21, is a junior shepherd at Otiwhiti Station in Hunterville, while 19-year-old Mitchel is a senior cadet at Waipaoa Station, near Gisborne.

"The World Young Shepherds Challenge is a fantastic event, showcasing a vital industry and a range of young people from around the globe who have a major contribution to make to the international sheep farming sector," says Beef + Lamb New Zealand CEO, Dr Scott Champion.

The competition aims to foster professional development in the next generation of sheep farmers, build strong relationships between the sheep production sectors in each of the countries, and showcase the talent and careers in the sector.

"Sheep farming is an essential industry in New Zealand and a big part of our national economy," says Katey. "This is an awesome opportunity for young shepherds to be recognised and represent their countries at an international level."

Mitchel says sheep farming is his passion. "The World Young Shepherds Challenge is a great opportunity for me to meet the next generation of farmers from other parts of the world, as well as a good test of my own knowledge and skills."

The pair were selected after earning top scores in the New Zealand leg of the competition. They will now compete as a team against young shepherds from 15 other countries: Argentina, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, England, France, Germany, Hungary, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Scotland, United States, Uruguay, and Wales.

The inaugural World Young Shepherds Challenge was held in New Zealand in 2011. New Zealand's Peter Klaassen, then a student at Lincoln University, won that competition and was named World Young Shepherd.

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