North King Country Young Farmers is on a mission to double its membership. The active Te Kuiti-based club has a diverse member base of shepherds, dairy farmers and local rural professionals.
“Our aim is to help connect people and provide opportunities to socialise and upskill,” says member Christin Bentley.
She’s a shepherd on a property near Pio Pio that runs dairy grazers and 3000 sheep.
The 29-year-old is spearheading a number of events to help build the club’s profile and attract new members.
It’s holding a skills day at Te Wharua Station at Matiere, northwest of Taumarunui, on November 10.
“A local fencing contractor will be there to help people learn new skills or hone their technique,” says Christin.
Experienced shearer Mickey McDonald will teach people how to set up a handpiece and shear a sheep.
“Everyone will be at different skill levels,” says Christin.
“Some people might want to learn how to crutch a sheep, others will be after tips to improve and get faster.”
Christin says a district qualifying event for the FMG Young Farmer of the Year is coming up “so it’s perfect timing”.
Plus, the vocal skills of King Country working dogs will be put to the test that night at a Bark Off at the Matiere Cosmopolitan Club.
“Entrants bring their dog inside and if they can’t get it to bark they have to get up on the table and howl instead. It’s a really fun event,” says Christin.
The entry fee is $10 per dog, with a maximum of two dogs allowed per person.
The club’s also organising a speed shearing event at The Riverside in Te Kuiti on December 8.
Christin says the club has also welcomed a number of new members following the closure of Taumarunui Young Farmers.
“And we’re looking at holding regular pub nights closer to Taumarunui so those members don’t have as far to travel.”
North King Country Young Farmers meets the first Wednesday of the month at The Riverside in Te Kuiti.