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Beyond the Bale : September 2017
NEW YOUNG FARMING CHAMPIONS PROMOTING WOOL The Young Farming Champion program continues to create an Australia-wide network of enthusiastic young professionals to promote Australian agriculture as a dynamic, innovative, rewarding and vibrant industry. Co-sponsored by AWI, the initiative is a program developed by Art4Agriculture – a network of young people who share a passion about teaching others the pivotal role Australian farmers play in feeding and clothing the world. AWI has been involved in the program since 2012 and this year is sponsoring six more Young Farming Champions. They will actively engage with the public and school students, spreading their passion for wool, bridging the rural-urban divide, and inspiring the next generation of youngsters to consider a career in the wool industry. Here we introduce the six new Young Farming Champions for the wool industry. MORE INFORMATION www.wool.com/yfc The latest intake of six Young Farming Champions, sponsored by AWI, will promote positive images and perceptions of the wool industry to students participating in Art4Agriculture’s school program who might never have considered a career in agriculture. LUCY COLLINGRIDGE Born and bred in Cootamundra NSW, Lucy was a self-confessed ‘townie’ who developed her love for the wool industry during holidays in her early years of high school with family near Condobolin. She went on to study a Bachelor of Agriculture at UNE and then worked as a farm hand on a sheep property. Lucy is now a biosecurity officer with the Central West Local Land Services in Nyngan and is studying a Graduate Certificate in Agriculture (Animal Science) through UNE. “We need to continue to educate the next generation about agriculture... Just because someone is born in a large city, doesn’t mean they won’t have a passion and interest in agriculture on a ground level or as a consumer.” HAMISH MCGRATH Hamish was brought up on a 14,500-hectare Merino station, ‘Womboin’, at Marra Creek, 110km north of Nyngan NSW. He is currently in his fourth year at the University of Sydney, studying Agriculture Science with a major in pasture agronomy. During work experience he has seen many different ways of managing farms and sheep stations but he found two weeks spent on the Northern Tablelands particularly interesting looking at a completely different way of managing a Merino production system. “It worries me that whole generations of some of the most comprehensive farming knowledge in the world will be lost with the ageing farmers of Australia. As a Young Farming Champion, I want to help young people see the benefits of a career in agriculture.” CAITLIN HEPPNER Being Barossa born and bred, Caitlin grew up surrounded by viticulture and it wasn’t until she was 10 that she discovered sheep and wool, when she met the Australian Shearing and Wool Handling Team at Portree Station. It was then that the young South Australian began working as a wool handler in local sheds, at 14 learnt to shear and started competing in shearing and wool handling competitions, and at 18 she fulfilled her dream and became a registered woolclasser. “Essentially my aim is to close the gap between producers and consumers and create a better understanding and appreciation of what really happens in the wool industry.” DEANNA JOHNSTON Deanna is from a wool-growing property at Naradhan in the Central West of NSW. She completed her Certificate IV in Woolclassing and Certificate II in Shearing by the age of 16. Since then, shearing competitions and wool handling competitions have become her weekend hobby. Finishing Yanco Agricultural High School last year, she aims to study a double degree in Agriculture and Business at UNE with a long-term view to go back to the family farm and take over the sheep enterprise. “Communities cannot survive without agriculture, and agriculture cannot survive without the support of communities. By showing the exciting future of agriculture, it will only encourage people to be part of it and will strengthen the sector.” KATHERINE BAIN Sixth-generation farmer Katherine Bain of Stockyard Hill in the western districts of Victoria is studying an Agribusiness degree at Marcus Oldham College. She has been involved in agriculture her entire life in many different ways, mainly helping on the farm but also being heavily involved in the local show at Beaufort. The Bains currently run a flock of about 3,500 Merinos plus 4,500 crossbred sheep. Katherine is the 2016 recipient of a Horizon Scholarship sponsored by AWI. “With the platform of the Young Farming Champions program, I hope to share my knowledge of the wool industry to those who don’t have exposure to agriculture, from sheep husbandry right though to selling a finished product.” 30 ON FARM 30
In the Shops - September 2017