Brandon hails from Stony Plains, a small town in Canada, where he and his family run a cattle and grain operation. The family has two boys, Brandon and his brother, who intend to take over the farm when the time comes. His brother studied agriculture, and Brandon decided to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Ag, majoring in crop science, at the University of Alberta. But deep down, he knew that his thirst for knowledge and adventure couldn’t be quenched just by books and lectures.
Naturally, Brandon started looking for exciting programs that could combine his passion for agriculture with his desire to explore new horizons. That’s when he stumbled upon the IRE Outbound Program. Hearing about it from a friend who had already participated, as well as attending a presentation, Brandon was intrigued. The program offered a chance to work abroad and expand his skills in a hands-on way – it was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.
When it came to choosing his destination, Brandon’s heart was set on Australia. It seemed like the ideal place – similar to Canada, with English as the primary language, a thriving agricultural industry, and big grain and cattle operations. The vast open spaces and beautiful beaches were also a draw for Brandon. It was definitely a bucket-list place for him.
After finishing school in April 2022, Brandon wasted no time. He embarked on his Australian adventure in November, fully immersing himself in the program until early April. His work placement brought him to a cattle station in the outback – a far cry from the familiar cow-calf operations back in Canada. Living in such a remote area required resourcefulness, meticulous planning, and impeccable organizational skills. Hailing from a small family farm, Brandon had to adapt to the challenges of working on a large-scale operation.
One of the standout moments for Brandon was building a mobile watering station from scratch using materials available on the station. His farm manager, who happened to be a heavy-duty diesel mechanic, taught him valuable mechanical skills and innovative problem-solving techniques. It was all about making the most of what they had on hand. This experience changed Brandon’s mindset and taught him the invaluable lesson that there’s always more than one way to accomplish a task.
Throughout his journey, Brandon not only gained essential agricultural knowledge but also formed lifelong connections with people from all corners of the globe. The program brought together individuals from the UK, Argentina, the Netherlands, and even fellow Aussies. They worked side by side on rural projects and, in the process, forged deep friendships. Brandon still keeps in touch with some of these incredible individuals, who have become a valuable resource for advice and support even after returning home.
As Brandon wrapped up his unforgettable experience in Australia, he couldn’t help but reflect on the personal growth and lifelong memories he had gained. From the stunning landscapes to the camaraderie in the outback, this adventure had shaped him in ways he never could have imagined. And it all started with embracing the unknown and stepping out of his comfort zone.
So, fellow travelers, if you’re seeking a unique way to enhance your agricultural skills, broaden your horizons, and make friends from around the world, the IRE Outbound Program might just be the perfect fit for you. Start your journey today, pack your curiosity, and let the world become your classroom. Who knows where your adventure will take you?