Even though Lucie Grancher grew up on a merino farm in southern France, she only learned her woolhandling skills when she came to New Zealand.

Now she is encouraging French farmers to better prepare their wool and is on the organising committee for the woolhandling section of the 2019 world shearing championships, which are to be held in France in July next year.

''Woolhandling is not a job in France,'' Ms Grancher said.

''They just put it in one fadge.''


She is originally from the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence where her father had 1800 merinos.

''I am born into the wool life,'' she said.

Ms Grancher is in New Zealand for her eighth time, working for Alexandra shearing contractor Dion Morrell.

This time she arrived in August and will be leaving at the end of November.

She first came to New Zealand to visit farming friends and learned woolhandling skills to help them out, and since then has kept coming back.

She will be competing in the senior woolhandler competition in the New Zealand merino shearing championships in Alexandra next Friday and Saturday.

''I try to take part in as many shows as I can as I find it a good way to get better at work and focus on the quality of what I am doing.''

When she returns home she encourages sheep farmers to try to improve returns with better wool preparation and is also becoming increasingly busy with the championships' organising committee.

''What I am trying to do in France is to help the farmers get a better profit for wool but they don't want to do any work for it.

''They think 'why should we make an effort if we are not going to get any more money?' But people are starting to take an interest.''

She said many French flocks were kept indoors during the winter for two to four months.

''We have a very different system and by putting the sheep in sheds, they give the land a rest during the winter.''

She said many farmers had major issues with hunters and members of the public who considered it was a right to roam through farmers' paddocks.

People will cut fences to run their vehicles and dogs through and in addition there are wolves in the mountains.

She said the wolves were protected but they were starting to move into areas where they had not been seen for centuries.

''The Green people don't want us to touch the wolves, so we have protection dogs which live with the sheep and are nasty enough to fight against the wolves but leave the tourists,'' she said.

- Southern Rural Life