THE biggest hurdle for Australia's sheep and wool industry is attracting workers.
Some traditional Merino breeders have ditched the wool sheep for shedding breeds such as Dorpers and others have opted to sow more crops.
However, for a family at Hay, who have dedicated their lives to the sheep and wool industry, there is certainly plenty to talk up.
Lionel Garner, a shearing contractor, has 38 years in the game. He talks about his memories of the wide-comb dispute that rocked Australia's industry and resulted in strike action back in 1983.
Now the challenge is twofold. The industry needs to attract, train and keep workers.
"I heard of some Kiwi shearers who were heading to Wagga to start shearing at 5pm on Sunday night," Mr Garner said. This timetable showed the urgency for shearers.
He explained that the time was ideal to enter the industry given demand.
Mr Garner said for the first time shearers and contractors arguably had the upper hand.
With correct training and hard work he said it was possible to earn around $2000 a week as a shearer.
"It can be a fun and thriving industry," Mr Garner said.
Mr Garner's daughter Kayla is a great example of how valuable career paths can take shape.
She has taken on a role to train wool classes at TAFE NSW, Hay. Back in 2013 she was named Australian National Wool Handling Champion. She takes over from Tim Carroll.
"I'm excited about training the next generation of home-grown wool classers and helping support Hay's most important industry," she said.
She said the industry was currently experiencing a shortage of wool classers, meaning TAFE NSW graduates were even more in demand.
Her new appointment earned support of Shear Outback deputy chairman Ian Lugsdin, who described it as a "coup" for the community.
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