Training is proving a great way for Sam Clouston to fill gaps in the farming knowledge he’s been accumulating since boyhood.
Sam was raised on a family farm at Whitecliffs, Central Canterbury, and the 25 year old is now Stock Manager on a 2500 hectare Sheep and Beef property further south in the Fairlie area.
Last year he completed his National Certificate in Livestock Feeding Level 3, and this year is studying for the New Zealand Certificate in Agriculture Level 4 (Sheep and Beef Farming). “I left school early and really got stuck into farming. But over the years, I’ve wanted to get more knowledge on soils and pasture management and it has been great to get that under my belt,” said Sam.
His on-farm working life has been very instructive, but most of his past nine years have been on high country properties and Sam says this left gaps in his knowledge of intensive farming systems on more fertile land.
However, the Fairlie property he joined in late 2016 includes a range of country from shingle peaks to lower, rolling pasture – and Sam is able to put his recently-acquired knowledge to work in a lamb finishing operation.
The work-study life suits him well. “It’s been easy to study so far… I get the books out on wet days and at lunchtime,” he said. And he intends to keep studying, towards either owning his own farm one day or becoming manager on a large high-country farm. “I want to go to Level 5 Business Management and do the financial subjects. For a lot of farm management jobs, you need the extra qualifications.”