Learning Journey in a Shearing Shed

The ambiance of the old shearing shed at Dulacca Downs suits well as the venue for the Lachlan Hughes Foundation Program. Four modules each of 2½ days spread throughout the year, regular zoom meetings with the Program Co-ordinator Barb Bishop, with a celebratory event early next year to wrap up the program. Each participant must also complete a regenerative agriculture on-farm project.

The 1st Module began with Philip Hughes explaining the story of how the Foundation evolved and its meaning to the family. He then took participants on a tour of the Dulacca properties to see regenerative agriculture in practice (contours, leaky weirs, creek and erosion repair, land rehydration, composting, biodynamics and flow forms).
Jack Groat, and Emma and Joel Muirhead spoke of their LHF Scholarship journeys and the regen ag practices they have since adopted. Adam Coffey explained the importance of building strong mentor relationships.
Expectations were discussed for the participants project, including design, planning, costing, and implementation. Putting together a business plan, financial/cash flow management, and sourcing funding were covered by visiting specialists Amanda and Craig.

Module 2 covered understanding oneself and other personality types, group dynamics and the use of effective communication and presentation skills. Planning content material, story-telling, coping with nerves, managing the audience, and why the first 30 seconds counts. Time management skills in all segments of life, building leadership capability, and the capacity to influence followed.
The Learning Challenge part of the program gives participants the opportunity to undertake self-directed learning and research, preparation for guest speaking engagements, and assists with how to get the most out of visiting consultants and mentors.

The 3rd Module included creek and paddock walks with the major focus being on regenerative agriculture. Visiting presenter Gwyn Jones spoke about hydration of the landscape, plant identification and succession, the ‘need to read the weed’, as well as soil health and fertility.
Dr Neil Williams talked about soil composition and its microbiome, and along with Ian Moss discussed how to read soil test results. Jess Paton explained the use of satellite technology to monitor grazing land, pasture productivity and condition.
A man looking in front and smiling, he is wearing a blue sleeves shirt, and his background is trees, grasses, and water stream   

Module 4 covered the power of influencing, building influencer capacity, and influencing in action using practical demonstrations and interaction.
The 'how to' of using the wide range of social media tools available now, doing interviews with media, and public speaking techniques were explained by expert in the field, Sally Rigney.
Communication and presentation skills were also practised and refined in preparation for the participants Project presentations at the finale event in Toowoomba in early February 2024.

The Program is a wonderful, well rounded learning experience.