Continuing our meet the finalists series in the Australian Wool Innovation – Cultivate Growing Young Leaders Scholarship
Meet Florance McGufficke……
I have always had a connection to the land, growing up on a sheep and wool enterprise in Cooma, southern NSW. I never went to day-care, I went to ‘daddy day-care’ spending my time out in the paddock with dad (mostly eating sheep poo). When I was in primary school if we were shearing at home I would go straight to the shed after school, uniform and all.
Involving myself in sheep husbandry activities, data analysing and genetic data collection with the goal to continually improve our sheep to meet consumer demands and deliver a superior quality merino wool product. I was fortunate to attend boarding school and spend 12-months in the UK for my gap year.
I have just completed a double degree of a Bachelor of Agriculture and Business at UNE
Success comes from hard work and dedication, that is what my dad Alan taught me
During my tertiary education I networked with a variety of people and held leadership positions, my most recent being the Senior Resident Advisor (SRA) at St Alberts College.
In the last 5 years I have appreciated the value in breeding highly productive and profitable sheep and the benefits of using top genetics to create a superior product. Throughout my studies my attention was drawn to the need to increase sustainability in agriculture and to take a more market-oriented approach in the supply chain. I have a passion for wool focusing on this incredible fibre I believe my roles in leadership have equipped me with the skills to engage consumers in conversations about the sustainability of this superior fibre.
Consumers today are becoming more aware of their carbon footprint and their impacts on the environment. They have increasing concerns about their purchases, questioning the sustainability of apparel fibres and demanding transparency and traceability of products. In regard to the wool industry, the future of fashion is heavily dependent on sustainable fibres. Wool is the solution to the future of sustainable fashion. The characteristics of the wool fibre make it highly sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Transparency is key to a create a cohesive pipeline and meet consumer demand- some bales of wool during our last shearing
I believe wool’s superior qualities need to be promoted to highlight the environmental benefits.
Fast fashion has resulted in an increased turn-over rate of clothing compared to 15 years ago due to the constant shift in fashion trends, with clothing collections doubling from 2-5 per year and lifestyle choices influencing consumer demand. With the consequences building as a result of fast fashion I believe we need to educate people about the impacts their purchasing habits have on the environment, as well as about the alternative choices they can make. The perfect world would see every household be able to own woollen underwear or t-shirt so they understand and appreciate the natural qualities of wool and the benefits this fibre has for their personal health, as well as the longevity of the environment. Creating clothing only of natural fibres, and reducing man-made fibres would reduce the level of micro-plastics in our oceans and pollution on land.
We have been using ASBV’s and measuring performance for over 14 years and from my experience and background in data collection and analysis continuous improvement is key to delivering a consistently superior quality merino wool
I aspire to be a leading advocate for increasing the level of transparency and traceability in the wool industry.
I believe a market-oriented approach is the key to improving market responsiveness and building a reputation for wool as a superior and sustainable fibre. I want to increase cohesion along the supply chain and ensure consistent communication channels between the producer and the consumer
I believe transparency is the key to engaging all stakeholders to ensure wool is successfully produced, promoted and consumed.
I know the benefits of this luxurious fibre, and have a desire to be a leading advocate for the future of the wool industry.