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GAP Year

At Texas Angus, we recognise the vital role of youth in the beef industry’s ongoing success. That’s why three years ago, we initiated the Texas Angus GAP Year/Mentoring program, offering young, enthusiastic individuals the opportunity to learn about our seedstock operation first-hand. Anyone interested in applying for this unique opportunity please send us a message. We will start looking at 2025 applicants around October this year.

Here is a testimonial from our first Gap year student Will

During my Year 12 experience I always had the ambition of taking a gap year and gaining firsthand experience in the agriculture industry before attempting to gain a Bachelor of Agriculture degree. So, in February 2022 myself and my very accommodating Grandfather headed north from Bendigo, Victoria to a property west of Moree. This, to my naive self, sounded like an excellent idea as it offered an opportunity to learn about the cropping industry and machinery. Now to address the obvious, my grandfather Harvey was not heading to Moree for his own interests, he was asked by my parents to help with my travels as they were concerned about the lack of experience, I had in moving out and travelling on my own. As they should, I had only purchased my vehicle (the Collie) five days before heading up. There was such a time squeeze, my infamous air conditioner wasn’t fixed and has continued to cause me headaches.

The trip was low stress thankfully and on a Monday morning, after a weekend of making me feel at home, I farewelled my grandfather and sent him on the train from Moree to Sydney to Melbourne (I swear I’m not a bad grandson, he told me he was excited for his locomotive adventure). I began work and although I quite enjoyed learning about the ins and outs of tractors (as I had so much to learn), after about a month I knew this job wasn’t for me. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy the process of growing the crop, it was just that it wasn’t what I was hoping to get out of my gap year as I had ambitions to gain a greater knowledge of the cattle industry. Although some people might say I should have stuck it out at this cropping company, I can tell you right now, by gee I’m glad I made the switch. So, on a regular day out on the tractor spreading some anhydrous ammonia I enquired through Wendy if she was interested in taking on a gap student to help them on their farm. To give a little context, I had Wendy Mayne’s phone number as both my parents went to university with Wendy at Melbourne University studying Agriculture Science and I had already enquired about a job with them earlier in the year. Luckily, Ben and Wendy were interested in employing a gap student, and after a brief phone conversation they were willing to give me a crack. As to why they did this, I still have no idea. I had very little experience, and the deal included that me, a stranger, would practically live with them full time. However, for whatever reason, they decided to give me a chance and for that, I am forever grateful. So, on the morning of the 22nd of March I headed east to Warialda, home of the Mayne Family.

My first in-person exposure to the Mayne family was a quick warm welcome by Wendy and a slight warning that her husband and business partner Ben, was a ‘firm but fair’ employer, and from my experience that was correct. For example, on the first day of work after engaging in a bit of small talk with Ben on the way over to Kurrajong I quickly learnt the do’s and don’ts of riding their four-wheel motorbikes, as I was reprimanded for driving over some rocks a little bit too quick. Which to be fair, was necessary, as initially my four-wheeler skills were limited. But like all things, with time I became confident with my position at Texas Angus, and at times too confident (I vaguely remember tricking Rosie, Ben’s and Wendy’s daughter, into a prank regarding an egg…. and gee whilst I’m on the topic of eggs, while Ben and Wendy might be experts in the breeding of high-quality angus cattle, they cannot claim to understand the intricate activity of incubating chickens). To say I learnt a heap at Texas Angus would be an understatement, Wendy and Ben taught/exposed me to general farmhand skills like straining fences to more specific jobs like bull sale preparation, artificial insemination, and embryo transfer. This variety of work I was involved with, truly made it a special year, as I was always doing something different each week. Although yes, we worked hard at Texas Angus, there was also spare time for other activities. I was lucky enough to play football for the Inverell Saints, led by their courageous captain Hayden Chappell who was also farm-manager of Texas Angus and my direct manager. Not only was Hayden an excellent leader on the football field he was also a wonderful leader at Texas Angus, and he mentored me through the year. I am very thankful for Hayden as he taught me a lot and he also drove me to footy training each Tuesday and Thursday, and games on Saturday.

The best part of the year was to be involved with the Texas Angus bull sale. This was amazing as I gained insight into the confidence Ben and Wendy’s clients had in their bulls as the 2022 bull sale was a record day for average bull prices. I had such an excellent time at the Mayne’s I continued my adventure the following year with their oldest son, Will Mayne and a group of other young men, to work on a cattle station near Mount Isa, Queensland. The people we worked for were clients of the Mayne’s and it was just as fun and hard work as you can imagine. However, after completing two gap years, I have now decided to study for an Agricultural Science degree, but I look forward to visiting Texas Angus in the hopefully not-too-distant future.