Fencing a paddock in 5cm of snow is not enough to dampen Louie Adams’ passion for farming.
The 17-year-old from Mataura is one of five young people completing a two-year agricultural cadetship at Jeff Farm.
The farm, which is managed by John and Liz Chittock for the Salvation Army, provides quality training for youth wanting to enter the agricultural industry.
“I’ve always had a strong passion for farming, and when I finished NCEA level 2 and an opportunity came up at Jeff Farm, I took it,” Louie said.
“I liked school, but I’ve always been more of a practical, hands-on person and an outdoors girl, so there was never any doubt that’d be the direction I’d go.”
Louie, who grew up on and around farms, had visited Jeff Farm many times with her dad, a contractor, and was familiar with the programme.
She has now been there for more than a year.
The 2340ha farm in Kaiwera runs close to 30,000 stock units made up of sheep, beef and deer.
Two or three young people are selected each year to undertake a two-year cadetship on the farm, learning a broad range of agricultural skills including working with stock, fencing and tractor work.
“It really prepares you for the full agriculture experience,” Louie said.
“I’ve particularly enjoyed learning about stockmanship and how to muster on horseback.”
The programme had also challenged her to try new tasks, which had tested her confidence, she said.
There are four cadets so far this year, with a fifth joining soon.
“We all live on site, get along well and are good mates. When we finish work, we all enjoy hanging out together. It’s a real family atmosphere,” she said.
“It’s a real good culture and we have a great staff supporting us.”
Outside of farming, Louie enjoys spending time with her dogs and competing on horses.
“I competed regularly in showjumping events at local A&P shows for many years, achieving very successful results with my first pony.
‘‘It’s been great to combine my love for horses and farming.”
Each cadet is also given a dog to train during their time. Louie has three at present — two huntaways and a heading dog.
She highly recommended the programme for anyone interested in pursuing a career in agriculture, she said.
She hoped one day to use her skills in the Canterbury high country and maybe run or own her own farm.