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Beyond the Bale : September 2012
23 seLLing more wooL fasT faCTs l Four young Australians have been selected Young Farming Champions (YFC) for the wool industry and are sharing their passion for wool with urban students. l The YFCs aim to educate their generation about the wool industry and show there is a bright and prosperous future in it. l The program allows AWI to mentor the young faces of wool as well as raise awareness of the fibre. 23 on-farm September 2012 Beyond the Bale Young farming Champion stephanie grills from armidale with a mob of sheep. lauren Crothers loves her woolly jumpers, so much so that they form the basis of her story – a yarn which gained her the title of a Young Farming Champion (YFC), an initiative instigated by Art4Agriculture and co-sponsored by AWI. Miss Crothers is joined by three other young Australians who feel so passionate about the future of Australia’s wool industry that not only are they choosing to make a career from it, but as YFCs they are educating other young Australians about the industry’s importance. The 19-year-old Agribusiness student was also honoured to receive a Horizon Scholarship, funded by AWI. The Horizon Scholarship is an initiative of the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) that, in partnership with industry sponsors such as AWI, supports undergraduates studying agriculture at university. Hailing from Dirranbandi, Queensland, Miss Crothers is a firm believer that every family needs a farmer. And it is evident from her YFC blog that this teenager is passionate about inspiring the next generation about a career in agriculture, in particular the sheep and wool industry. “ I’m crazy about sheep,” M iss Crothers writes in her YFC blog. “And I bet if you knew just how impressive our wool industry is you would be just as proud of Australia’s sheep as I am.” Growing up on the family property ‘Booligar’, M iss Crothers said her father placed more focus on cotton than he did on sheep much to her disappointment. “ This however didn’t stop me; I was constantly visiting my aunt and uncle’s property at Tara where I could always be found following a mob of sheep or helping in the yards. “ Shearing time was my favourite, where the smell of lanolin drifted around the shed and embedded into my clothes. This is where I believe my love for sheep and the wool industry started.” Her love and passion for this industry continued to bloom after high school during a working gap year as a jillaroo. For the better part of the 13 months on the commercial sheep station northwest of Warren, NSW, the Shar ing the passion for wool 17-year-old worked solely with her boss. It was during this time it became apparent to the bright-eyed teen it was becoming increasingly difficult to find young people interested in the sheep and wool industry. “At times it was lonely, tiresome and very physical, but I absolutely loved it. It taught me a number of key things including responsibility, independence and an enormous amount about sheep and wool.” After entering into a Bachelor of Agribusiness, Miss Crothers went into partnership her twin sister and another friend. The trio bought a mob of sheep, learnt how to shear and has hopes to not only increase the size of the current mob but also produce high-quality Merino wool and breed Merino rams. “ I hope that my story is able to inspire the younger generation to become involved in the agriculture industry and in particular the sheep and wool industry. “ I know that without a doubt my future lies within the agricultural industry and I hope by sharing my journey I can inspire others to travel in my footsteps.” More information: www.rirdc.gov.au www.art4agriculture.com.au dynamic, innovative and rewarding career pathway and help ensure the future of Australia’s wool industry remains strong and prosperous. “The Young Farming Champions program is not a leadership program, but it does deliver leaders,” Mrs Strong said. “ It will engage and educate the next generation of consumers by allowing the Champions to tell their story, in this case of how they have worked in the wool industry. “The Champions will highlight the productivity gains in the wool industry and how they are increasing agriculture’s sustainability. They not only have an enormous impact on the schools they visit but also gain unique industry experience from participating in the program. “Not only do they receive intensive training and professional development, they also gather insights into how and what consumers think about food and fibre production. “We have an outstanding group of professional young farming champions this year and Art4Agriculture is very proud to be working with them. I am confident wool producers will be equally proud that they are the young faces of the wool industry.” More information: www.art4agriculture.com.au Queenslander Lauren Crothers has been named a Young farming Champion and a recipient of a horizon scholarship. The teen is showing the nation that wool industry’s future is promising and is encouraging others to join it.