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.
Read Matt’s story here
Read Tom’s story here
Welcome to the team Matt and Tom
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