The world needs creative, innovative and courageous young people who can connect, collaborate and act. We know that youth may only be 20% of the population but they are 100% of the future. The time is now to let them share their dreams and design the future they want to see.
My name is Sally Downie. I’m the daughter of dairy farmers. It’s in my blood.
I grew up on a dairy farm near Forbes NSW with my family. I was the only girl in the family and the youngest. I had some big shoes to fit.A large pair of dirty, well worn boots, the pair you pull on each morning and don’t take off until much later in the evening. They are familiar, comfortable but a token of hard work. For years I strived to fit into those metaphorical shoes.
Farm life was normal to me. I’d come home from school and be up at the dairy milking cows, feeding calves and following mum around the farm.
In high school I began to show dairy cattle. It became my mission to show an animal of my own at every Forbes Show. I soon began to show cattle at Sydney Royal Show and International Dairy Week in Victoria. It was at these shows my eyes were opened to the opportunities in the dairy industry and the amazing people involved. I really began to look at cows, to see what made a good cow. I listened to the judge, to what they looked for and how they said it. I felt that this was my place.
By my senior years of high school life was very different. I was still invested in the farm and in love with cows. I was determined to be a dairy farmer, just like my mum. But I had my own goals, I had to make my family proud. Academics clicked for me, I did alright in school with little struggle (expect when it came to maths). I would work after school on the farm then come home to get assignments done, burning the midnight oil. To my family this was odd and something my brother found to bother me about. I began to struggle as I became sick. I was back and forth from hospital admissions and an array of tests, my list of absent days grew. I seemed ok but inside life was a living hell. I finished year 12 as Dux. I returned to work on the farm showing no interest in university.
Things fell to pieces quickly. By December I was very sick, February I was in hospital for several weeks, by April I was 33kg but took on the role as Central West Dairy Coordinator with DairyNSW anyway. Again I went to Sydney Royal but I was a mere shadow of myself, tired but determined. By May I was 30kg and absolutely devastated as I was told I’d be sent to hospital and I’d miss a farm tour of a local dairy farm. I tried to convince them to admit me after the tour. I didn’t win. I still had plans to visit New Zealand with the dairy network in June. At the same time my family were told I had three days to live. June came around and I was still in hospital, a feeding tube up my nose, weak, bed bound. In September I was discharged from Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. An eating disorder,that was my diagnosis. How do I live with that? What farmer won’t eat? If dad can’t accept it how can I?
I fell in love, I saw more opportunities in agriculture,
I began a university degree but I also saw another side to agriculture, the silent suffering, the devastation of mental illness. I accepted my illness. I accepted mental health and began to speak out about it I could no longer say silent about such suffering. I allowed myself to roam, to seek new paddocks.
I opened my eyes, I opened my heart, I opened my world up.
Resilience starts with beleiving in yourself. Sally Downie Runner Up Sydney Royal Easter Show Girl 2019
Sally now works for Forbes Council as their drought resilience officer. We are very excitied to have Sally join the team
Young Farming Champion YFC Casey Onus has been named the Australian Summer Grains 2019 Agronomist of the Year, winning the Zoe McInnes Memorial Award at the annual conference held on the Gold Coast during July. Zoe was a young and well-respected agronomist who was tragically killed in a farming accident in 2013.
Casey Onus (centre) with AHRI northern extension agronomist Paul McIntosh and Zoe’s mother Kaz McInnes at the awards night. Source
The Zoe McInnes Memorial recognises outstanding contribution to agronomic excellence in Australia. Casey was nominated alongside senior agronomists with years of experience, proving age is no barrier to the exceptional service she offers to clients.
“I think often as young agronomists we don’t feel as though we have been around long enough to make an impact in our clients’ business and the greater agricultural industry. So to receive recognition like this is great feedback that perhaps we are on the right track and delivering real value.” she says.
Casey felt it was a huge honour to be nominated for this award and a big surprise to win, yet beyond the accolades the award has personal meaning.
“I knew Zoe when I worked with Landmark and she was the sort of agronomist to whom we should all aspire. She was passionate, driven, she never took no for an answer and she would have a go at anything.”
These are traits shared by Casey and it is obvious she has learnt well from her role-model.
The award comes with a $5000 bursary.
“I would like to use the bursary to follow my passion for precision agriculture and traceability throughout the entire grain supply chain.”
Casey is well known for her determination to introduce technology to growers, whether that is by utilising big data collected on farms or contracting drones to check crops for pests.
“I want to employ that technology to develop a paddock to plate process for grains, so the bursary may help me find someone working in this space who I can learn from. I’d like to find someone like Zoe.”
Casey joined the Young Farming Champions program in 2015. We are thrilled to have role model of her calibre advocating and inspiring pride in Australian agriculture
The program aims to develop student educational and life skills. Eleven schools are participating and students spend one hour a week in the garden and one hour a week in the kitchen. Branimir Lazendic is principal of The Penrith Lakes Environmental Education Centre.
“I’m always looking out for inquiry-based, real-world projects for kids to do and with Kitchen Gardens the students are involved with growing their own produce, harvesting it, preparing it and sharing it. Kitchen Gardens allows students to work collaboratively as part of a group, to think critically and creatively, to contribute effectively to society and to look after their own well-being. Without well-being you can’t have learning in the first place.” Branimir Lazendic principal of The Penrith Lakes Environmental Education Centre.
Cassandra Lindsay is a teacher at Oxley Public School and has developed the fully functional garden, which provides a range of fresh organic produce to students and local families.
Teacher Cassandra Lindsay talks about the Kitchen Garden Program at Oxely Public School
Cassandra also runs the Garden Club five days per week at lunchtime where all students who are interested can learn the skills of growing and caring of fruits and vegetables.
“My passion for school gardens began long before I actually became a teacher. As a child I would spend time with my grandparents helping them tend to their backyard vegetable garden and in high school I took agriculture as an elective and spent all of my lunchtimes in the ag plot. When I started teaching at Oxley Park Public School it was evident many of our students had not had the opportunity to grow food, or even had any understanding of the process it takes to actually have vegetables on the dinner table. Enabling students to produce food in an organic low cost manner is empowering as a teacher. Every day I can give a child an opportunity to experience growing of food, gives every child another chance to a healthier future.”
Wow, with that passion we can’t wait to see what Oxley Park Public School will bring to their Kreative Koalas project, especially with Cassandra at the helm. She has already instigated environmental changes in the school with initiatives such as nude food days, improving paper recycling and recycling plastic bottles, and believes Kreative Koalas will further fuel the school and community’s war on waste.
“Our vision is to create a plastic free canteen and school environment. I want to empower our students to have a voice to make a change, be the voice of their community and spread awareness amongst the school community. This project is also an opportunity for our students to make real changes and share their story through a mix of artwork and digital media.”
Oxley Park Public School will definitely be a school to keep an eye on in this year’s Kreative Koalas.
Mega shoutout to our Kreative Koalas supporting partners Hunter Local Land Services and Holcim Australia – we couldn’t do it without you
This week’s top stories from Young Farming Champions (YFC) around the country and globe.
First stop on our round the world tour of YFC this week is the tiny town of Tocal, NSW, where dozens of YFC and Kreative Koala teachers gathered for our first 2019 Workshop.
It’s over to Wool YFC Chloe Dutschke and Horticulture YFC Tayla Field for a workshop recap of the alumni stream:
Our workshop weekend kicked off with a dinner Friday night with a chance for Alumni YFC to catch up and to meet the 2019 intake of YFC and Kreative Koalas teachers.
Saturday started with a brainstorming session including how we can make the most of our program and to showcase Agriculture to the best of our abilities. This involved reviewing, gathering, implementing and analysis of our social media. We have many new ideas and cannot wait to bring them to life.
Josh Farr from Campus Consultancy is our new Alumni workshop facilitator and has brought an engaging energy to the program. We discussed the six needs of life that all of our decisions can be linked back to: Certainty, Variety, Connection, Significance, Growth and Contribution. We used them to understand our motives in situations and to recognize our needs in determining our own personal goals.
Our goal setting session was very rewarding with many of our YFC Alumni beginning to define goals for their own lives using the SMART goal setting rubric whilst also addressing and overcoming problems which can lead to our goals not being actioned.
Saturday’s program was also filled with a session on the sustainability circle conducted by Greg Mills, which showcased five of our YFC Alumni sharing with teachers participating in Kreative Koalas how their role meets the sustainability circle in their work. This was a great opportunity for teachers and Alumni to learn together.
We concluded Saturday with a dinner inviting special guests including Tracey Norman, Mayor of Dungog Council, Lindy Hyam, Chair of Hunter LLS, Jane Llyod Jones, School Engagement Officer at Hunter LLS as well as Julie White and Jo Hathaway from Tocal College. We left the dinner truly inspired after speeches from Lindy Hyam, Youth Voices Leadership Team vice-chair Emma Ayliffe and Josh Farr.
Listen to Emma’s dinner speech here:
Listen to Josh’s speech here:
Our workshop concluded on Sunday but not before YFC had a sustainability session debrief with Greg Mills, reiterating the importance of a good presentation and the use of three key messages and understanding the story we are trying to tell.
Josh once again captivated the YFC Alumni and took us on a journey to understand Emotional Intelligence and our belief system. We were challenged in this session to become vulnerable and delve deep into ourselves to find our beliefs and recognise how they affect our everyday lives. This session was very emotive for all our Alumni recognising how negative self beliefs can shape the way we think about situations and define experiences we have had.
This workshop was by far the best workshop I have attended, it was emotive, engaging, challenging with lots of new information learnt. Thank you very much to the Alumni, new YFC, Teachers and facilitators for a fantastic weekend.
Thank you for a brilliant recap Chloe and Tayla!
In the Field
Wool YFC and Elders Wool Technician and Auctioneer Sam Wan has achieved a selling centre trifecta: Auctioneering the Elders Wool Fremantle offering means that she has now sold at all three wool selling centres in Australia!
This career highlight comes on the back of Sam’s two week study tour to Italy as part of the award for Elders “Thomas Elder” Employee of the Year.
Wool YFC Samantha Wan: Starting in the northern Italian region of Piedmont, the city of Biella became the center of the textile business because of its geographical features. Written documents prove that wool workers and weavers have been active in the region since 1245. It’s known as the ‘Wool City’, as it’s where the best wool mills in Italy are gathered and the most high quality woolen fabrics are weaved.
The water from the area is particularly hard due to its Alpine beginnings. As water runs down from the Piedmont mountains into the Biellese region, it picks up elements of the mineral formations it erodes along the way. The resulting hard water, which is particularly valuable for finishing fabrics, helped to distinguish the local fabrics and aided Biella’s ascent to the top of the world of wool.
Verrone, combing mill to see how the greasy wool begins the journey in Italy
Botto Giuesseppie, iconic fabric mill – one of the three ‘Royals’ of Biella
Tollegno 1900 SPA, mainly a worsted fabric producer, producing 4.5million metres of fabric each year, in over 5000 variations
Fratelli Piacenza SPA, woollen mill specialising in the Noble Fibres (superfine merino, cashmere, yak)
Marzotto, spinning and weaving factory in Valdagno
Simply incredible to see how the wool fibres are nurtured to create garments.
Fascinating stop overs at Parma ham factory and sheep cheese dairy how they carve a niche for their products.
AWI/The Woolmark Company Milan office to hear of the latest collaborations and the Italian perspective on wool in today’s fashion
While wool is always the highlight, the tour also took me to iconic sights and experiences such as a gondola ride in Venice, the ruins of Pompeii (highschool dream fulfilled!), the Vatican and Sistine Chapel, Trevi Fountain, Florentine steak, the Colosseum and so many more!
Most people bring back trinket souvenirs, I’ve brought back a healthy appreciation of coffee and a bit of an espresso habit!
Out of the field
One of our newest YFCs from the University of New England, Becca George, has attended 3 conferences/ workshops across three countries in the past three weeks! “The 24th-26th of June I attended the IFAMA conference in Hangzhou China, then after landing in Sydney from Vietnam I went straight to the YFC workshop & then on the 8th-9th of July I was at the Australian Summer Grains Conference on the Gold Coast! No rest for the wicked or a YFC 😋” Becca says. Look back through our posts on Picture You in Agriculture to see more highlights of Becca’s trip.
Wool YFC and Peter Westblade Memorial Scholarship winner Chloe Dutschke recently attended the Intercollegiate Meat Judging competition careers expo, talking to students about her experience in agriculture so far and about the Peter Westblade Scholarship. “My highlight was seeing a record number of 45 companies attend the expo supporting youth heading into ag and the red meat industry. There were a record number of companies with graduate positions, so great to see them investing in the next generation of ag,” Chloe says. “It was also fantastic talking to students who are willing to do the tough jobs, start at the bottom and work their way up, to create innovation and showcase our ag industry.”
Eggs and Poultry YFC and YVLT Communication Sub Committee member Jasmine Whitten has had a busy week attending conferences and workshops across NSW.
“I went to the GrasslandsNSW conference, where I heard Greg Mills speak on social licence and also got to catch up with (Wool YFC) Katherine Bain. The conference covered so much, from how to build more profitable grazing businesses, to how producers are managing the drought building more profitable agricultural businesses.”
“I was also at the Bank Ready workshop which is part of the young farmer business program run by NSW DPI. The event had a great representation of people from lawyers, accountants, bankers and of course young farmers. My brother works on our family farm and he walked away inspired that there were options for young people to get into farming. These events are worth getting to if they are run in your region,” Jas says.
Huge congratulations to YFC and agronomist Casey Onus who was named Agronomist of the Year at the 2019 Summer Grains Conference on the Gold Coast last week. We are so proud of you Casey, well done!
“The 26-year-old B&W Rural agronomist beat out experienced agronomists from around the country, including fellow Moree agronomist Tony Lockrey who was named runner-up, to win the Zoe McInnes Memorial Award which recognises outstanding contribution to agronomic excellence by an agronomist.”Read more in the Moree Champion here.
Congrats to Youth Voices Leadership Team Chair and dairy geneticist Dr Jo Newton on her awesome op-ed “Forging an agricultural leadership path” published on Farm Online last week.
Well done to Picture You in Agriculture YFC Alana Black on her opinion piece published in The Land this week titled, “We need to be proactive in telling farm stories.”
“In order to stop decline of rural economies, we need to recognise it isn’t purely a geographical issue, and to ensure their strong continuation we need urban consumers to buy into regional communities,” writes Alana. Read the full story here.
YVLT Vice-Chair Emma Ayliffe is inspiring us all this week with her optimism and vision. Emma was showcased on australianleadership.com
Congratulations and a huge Thank You to friend of the PYIA programs Greg Mills who was recently thanked for his long-term contribution and support of our YFC with the presentation of a Champion of Champions award. No one deserves it more than you Greg, thank you! Watch here:
Wool YFC Lucy Collingridge made is back from the Arctic Circle in time to attend the Tocal Workshop. We were excited to hear about the rest of her incredible adventure:
“I headed to Norway and Denmark for a holiday. Most of my time was spent on a ship touring the western coast of Svalbard. I visited the worlds most northern town (Ny Alesund), saw a polar bear and reindeer, kayaked around some massive glaciers, went for a dip surrounded by icebergs and pack ice as it was snowing, and learned heaps about the amazing animals of the Arctic – did you know the Arctic Tern travels from the Arctic to Antarctica and back each year?! The really cool (pun intended) part of the trip was that it was a reunion of friends made on a trip to Antarctica two years ago – 20 of us “Epic Antarcticans” who were all on a Love Your Sister fundraising trip to Antarctica made the trip north for this Arctic adventure! “Places We Go” were on board to film the trip so that episode of the show will hopefully be out later this year.” We can’t wait to watch it Lucy!
Climate YFC and western NSW farmer Anika Molesworth is fundraising for her journey to Antarctica later this year where she will work closely with women in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine) from around the world on matters that affect the sustainability of our planet. Anika’s journey is part of her 12 month Homeward Bound leadership program and her campaign for support to get to her to Antarctica can be found here: chuffed.org/project/farmer-in-antarctica
This week’s top stories from our Young Farming Champions around the country (and globe!)
In the Field
In Central NSW this week Grains YFC Keiley O’Brien’s family are getting creative with their contract harvesting business, due to ongoing drought. “This week we have trucked our windrower and large square baler 650km south, from Narromine to Balranald, to take advantage of a silage job offered to us through friends. This is the furtherest we have ever travelled for work, by a good 400km, and unless we get rain in the next couple of weeks our machinery will probably be staying down there, as we won’t have a hay season in our area – not many crops have been put in, or have come up, or have the outlook of making it to harvest without rain. The crop we are cutting is Balranald is a very impressive height!”
It’s a huge contrast to the world of Cattle and Cotton YFC Kirsty McCormack who is this week walking cattle up into the mountains of western Canada, into summer lease lands to graze. “These are public leases that are brought and controlled to reduce the risk of fire and overflowing vegetation,” says Kirsty, “It was an amazing cultural experience to be part of.”
YFC Tim Eyes and his partner Hannah are in the media spotlight again this week with this fabulous magazine spread of their Central Coast farm on the front page of the New Strait Times in Malaysia. “A few weeks ago we were fortunate to have journalists from all over the world come and check out the way we farm right here on the Central Coast ❤️@chefsamuelburke and @jabfood were superstars cooking the meat up to perfection 🙏 thank you @meatandlivestockaustralia for making this happen!” – The Food Farm: Central Coast Produce
Out of the Field
If you haven’t been following our Picture You in Agriculture Facebook page, now is the time to pop over! This week we’re following the ag-venture of UNE YFC Becca George who is touring China and Vietnam. Becca attended the International Food & Agribusiness Management Association 2019 Conference in Hangzhou, China and is now sharing videos and photos of her ag tour through Vietnam.
YFC Meg Rice recently attended Country to Canberra’s “Overcoming the Odds: power, equality and life’s toughest moments” event. Meg says, “There were laughs and tears, mixed with heartfelt advice about how to push past barriers and drive change. The panellists all shared stories about learning from their mistakes and being the best they can be. It was an incredibly inspiring evening!”
Picture You in Agriculture YFC Alana Black, who is currently working with Rural Youth Project in Scotland, this week attended her first Highland Show and interviewed Scotland’s first minister.
Wool YFC and Peter Westblade Scholarship winner Chloe Dutschke attended MerinoLink conference and field day last week in Armidale, NSW.
Congratulations to Youth Voices Leadership Team chair Jo Newton who has returned from Ireland and is this week returning to Agriculture Victoria as a research scientist in dairy genetics. Jo says she is looking forward to applying the skills and knowledge she learnt on her Endeavour post-doctoral fellowship in Ireland into her new role. Good luck Jo!
Best of luck also to Eggs Young Farming Champion Jasmine Whitten who is starting her new role with AgriPath in Tamworth this week. It’s straight in the deep end for Jas who will be travelling to Collie, NSW, with AgriPath on Tuesday while the team presents the 2018 profit focus results to landholders. Wool Young Farming Champion Katherine Bain is also attending. Say hi if you see them!
Next week Woolly YFCs Haylee Murrell and Katherine Bain will be attending the GrasslandsNSW conference in Gunnedah, where friend of the YFC program and ag consultant Greg Mills is speaking on one of our favourite topics: Social Licence.
Youth Voices Leadership Team vice-chair and agronomist Emma Ayliffe and Cotton YFC and agronomist Casey Onus will both be attending the Summer Grains Conference on the Gold Coast on July 8. Good luck to Emma who is speaking on her journey in agriculture, career path and few “tips” from her experience. And congratulations to Casey who is nominated for the one of four finalists in the Zoe McInnes Memorial Agronomy awards, with the winner to be announced at the conference.
YFC Sam Coggins is excited to be heading to Myanmar in August/September to live with rice farmers and iterate his smartphone-based fertilizer advisory tool with them: www.riseharvest.farm We can’t wait to hear more about this soon, Sam!
Wool YFC and Local Lands Service Biosecurity Officer Lucy Collingridge is in the Arctic! Lucy sent us this update from the Svalbard Seed Vault, a storage facility for seeds from around the world, approx 1200km from the North Pole. “Based on the structure of a coal mine, the facility is ideal for the storage of seeds as it maintains a constant temperature and humidity. With nearly 1 million samples, there are seeds from nearly every country in the Svalbard seed vault and include many plant species, eg cowpeas, lettuce, barley, sorghum, egg plant, potato and many more! To maintain a high standard of biosecurity, the vault is only opened once a year for the sole reason of introducing new samples in to storage. Visitors are able to attend the entrance of the vault but are unable to go inside. Unfortunately due to construction at the entrance I was unable to get any closer but you can see the entrance in the background of my picture!”
Tom Squires grew up around sheep in Tasmania, owned his first mob by age sixteen, completed a Bachelor of Agricultural Commerce in New Zealand and is now living his dream job as a shearer and a farmer. Read Tom’s story here
Matt Cumming owns and operates a shearing contracting business in Inverell in northern NSW, a one-stop shop for all shearing needs from mustering to wool pressing. Read Matt’s story here
Tom and Matt will participate in the Young Farming Champions leadership development program, a two-year package of support including media training, networking and mentorship opportunities to help them share their stories with the nation. Welcome to the team!
Congratulations to our incredible and inspiring Youth Voices leader and Tintern Grammar School alumna Dr Jo Newton who has been chosen to be the face of Tintern’s latest fund raising campaign. Great work, Jo!
Our Primary School engagement program Kreative Koalas officially launched in Western Sydney at Penrith City Council and in the Hunter Valley at Tocal College last week. One hundred teachers, students and community champions attended. We’re excited to share this world class program with these new communities!
Picture You in Agriculture, in conjunction with Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), is pleased to announce Tom Squires from Tasmania and Matt Cumming from New South Wales as the 2019 Wool Young Farming Champions. Young Farming Champions is a program that identifies youth ambassadors and future influencers working within agriculture who promote positive images and perceptions of farming.
Tom Squires grew up around sheep in Tasmania, owned his first mob by age sixteen, completed a Bachelor of Agricultural Commerce in New Zealand and is now living his dream job as a shearer and a farmer. “There’s an incredible feeling of excitement as you hear sheep hooves trotting down the ramp into your stockyards, knowing they’re your sheep” he says. “But the true thrill comes when you stencil your name onto your first bale of wool. There’s that sense of achievement in seeing a fleece being packed into a bale, knowing someone will benefit from what you produced.” Tom wants consumers to understand the entire wool supply chain and to realise the true pride farmers have for their produce. “It’s a long road to this destination but I want to be a part of the change: One voice, one education, one person at a time.”
Matt Cumming owns and operates a shearing contracting business in Inverell in northern NSW, a one-stop shop for all shearing needs from mustering to wool pressing. He employees a core team of six under the age of thirty, and encourages them to reach for the stars. “I am very proud of my team for their workmanship and the pride they take in their work. I especially enjoy the moment when they reach personal milestones, which enables them build confidence in themselves and their work,” he says. Matt and his team compete in shearing and wool handling competitions and believe Australia’s reputation for high quality wool demands a high quality shearing and wool clip preparation. “I have been mentored by many Australian and World Champions and it is important I pass on my knowledge and experiences and continue to be an advocate for professional standards within the sheep and wool industry.”
Tom and Matt will participate in the Young Farming Champions leadership development program, a two-year package of support including media training, networking and mentorship opportunities to help them share their stories with the nation. In the first twelve months they will attend two immersion workshops and in their second year will visit schools as part of The Archibull Prize to raise awareness of the wool industry and the diversity of agricultural careers
Graduates of the Young Farming Champions Program include 2017 Young Australian of the Year finalist Anika Molesworth and 2018 AFR 100 Women of Influence Dr Jo Newton.
Today’s guest post comes from shearing contractor Matt Cumming
Hi, I am Matt Cumming and I am a 27 year old shearing contractor from Northern New South Wales based in Inverell. One of my favourite earliest memories is of going to work with my grandfather, being keen to take part in the action, sliding down the sheep chute at any given chance.
I am a 5th generation shearer, who took a chance when I was 23 and started my own contract shearing run. We work throughout northern New South Wales and south western Queensland.
I was always destined to work in the wool and sheep industry, despite my mum’s best encouragement to finish year 12 and complete my apprenticeship, as a boiler maker/metal fabricator which I started as a school based apprentice. I went shearing full time when I was 20 and three years later CMAT Contracting was born.
CMAT Contracting offers a full contract shearing service, wool press and labour hire. It is important to me to offer a full contract shearing service, from mustering, drenching, lamb marking through to rolling out the last bale of wool for the season. I am very proud of my core team of six, all aged under thirty, for their workmanship and the pride they take in their work. Each member is able to work individually and as part of a team, which results in a happy client. I especially enjoy the moment when they reach personal milestones, which enables them build confidence in themselves and their work.
CMAT Contracting employees, Ewan Winter and Nick Cumming, recording their personal best daily number shorn at Guyra, in the New England region, NSW.
I am passionate about the wool industry and competition shearing and wool handling events, who for me go hand in hand. I not only sponsor and compete in these events myself, but I also encourage my team to do so as well. Competition is important to raise the bar within our industry, as it encourages mentoring from the older, more seasoned professionals to the up and coming, and those considering entering the industry. Australia has produced world champion shearers and wool handlers, who showcase the professional quality within our shearing sheds.
Matt Cumming and Heidi Anderson (CMAT Contracting Wool Classer) competing at the Sapphire Sports Shear, Inverell 2019
I take pride in my small contribution within the Australian Wool Industry, as Australian wool has the reputation of being a high quality product, and as such it demands a high quality shearing and wool clip preparation. I have been mentored by many Australian and World Champions and made some great friends along the way. It is important that the information I have had the privilege to learn and the experiences I have had, I pass on and continue to be an advocate for professional standards within the sheep and wool industry. I encourage all to try our industry, as it can be very rewarding!!