Sheep Industry career-path needs promoting
Cameron Russell is living proof that the sheep industry has a lot to offer young people with the right attitude and a willingness to succeed.
At 26 years of age, he is married with a child and working in a well-paid job as stock manager on Southland’s Diamond Peak Station.
This is after working as a shepherd and then block manager on two high-profile properties where he honed his practical skills and knowledge.
After leaving boarding school in Dunedin, Cameron went to work on Haldon Station in the Mackenzie Country then on Whitecoomb Station in West Otago before taking the more senior role at the 1214ha, 11000 stock unit Diamond Peak Station two years ago.
Having spent eight years building his practical skills, he is now working on developing his knowledge of agribusiness and putting himself up for leadership roles.
Last year he completed a Generation Next professional development course run by the Southern South Island Sheep Council and this year he applied for- and was awarded- a role as a B+LNZ Sheep Industry Ambassador.
Cameron is a great advocate for the industry and feels the lack of capability coming through the sector at a practical level is a real concern.
“No-one wants to do it, it is so hard to find a good shepherd.”
He feels school leavers are often encouraged to go to university, but the farming industry still needs people on the ground to do the work.
“We want good people who are passionate, have the right attitude and want to be on the land.”
Cameron loves what he does and admits that he cannot imagine doing anything else.
He says he climbed up the industry ladder relatively quickly – which is a reflection of his work ethic and attitude – and he would like to see other young people enjoy the lifestyle and work satisfaction he receives on a daily basis.
Cameron and his wife are now building equity through investments and while land ownership is a goal, they are also open to the idea of being professional farm managers if the right opportunity comes along.
As a Sheep Industry Ambassador, Cameron is looking forward to seeing farms through the North Island, meeting new industry leaders and picking up ideas which he can implement back on-farm.
He is also willing to share his observations with his peers and says he is quite happy to speak in public – especially when it comes to talking about an industry he is so passionate about.