AGRICULTURE students at Inverell's Macintyre High School will soon be packing their bags and heading on a trip which could shape their future job prospects, thanks to a last-minute $5,000 grant from the state government.
Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall and Deputy Premier John Barilaro met Agriculture Head Teacher Deb Snaith and her students at the Wool Works Shearing and Wool Handling School at Glen Innes recently, where they heard the school's sheep team were possibly going to miss out on attending the Australian Wool and Sheep Show at Bendigo this year because of the drought.
Mrs Snaith said the funding means the trip will go ahead with more kids than expected.
"$5,000 doesn't seem like much but this action by the Deputy Premier and Mr Marshall has shown our students and their families there are people who care," Ms Snaith said.
"Because of the drought many families are doing it tough financially, the children are working hard at home to help make ends meet and sadly missing out on opportunities because they simply can't afford to attend.
"This grant means these great kids don't have to miss out and I'm truly thankful for that."
Mr Marshall said supporting students to chase their dreams was an easy decision to make.
"With most of the farm income going to things like buying in fodder and transporting stock there's not much left over for activities like school camps," Mr Marshall said.
"This grant will subsidise the accommodation, food and transport costs of nearly 20 students who will travel and attend the National Sheep Show at Bendigo before heading to Melbourne and around Southern NSW visiting major cropping and dairy operations.
"I hope by the students travelling, showing the schools White Suffolk stud and experiencing different farming operations they will be given hope and encouragement to continue with a career in agriculture once the drought breaks."
Mr Barilaro said it was inspiring to meet a group of students so optimistic about chasing a future in farming.
"Not everyone wants to work in an office and what I saw at the shearing school at Glen Innes was a group of young people who love and are passionate about the land," Mr Barilaro said.
"I see this grant as an investment which will allow these students to broaden their horizons and hopefully give them the drive to start their own enterprise later in life."