Lambex 2018 organisers name nine Young Guns finalists

Sheep Central, May 24, 2018

LAMBEX 2018 organisers have named nine up-and-coming lamb industry advocates as finalists in its Young Guns Competition.

The finalists will fly to Perth to attend a Professional Development Workshop and LambEx 2018 on August 5-7, and the three category winners, will each receive a $1000 prize, to be announced during the conference.

Finalists in the early to mid-career producers and professionals (aged 40 years and under) section are Danila Marini from the University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales; Andrea McKenzie from the Department of Agriculture & Fisheries, Charleville, Queensland and John Gardner from South Mokanger, Cavendish, Victoria.

The finalists in the High School section are Zach Baker, Kojonup District High School, Kojonup, Western Australia; Hannah Haupt, Calvary Christian College, Carbrook, Queensland and Lindsay Brown, Yanco Agricultural High School, NSW.

In the undergraduate, postgraduate, masters and PhD students’ section, the finalists are Amy Lockwood, Murdoch University, Baldivis, WA; Jamie Nykiel, Murdoch University, Murdoch, WA, and Georgia Reid, Ag Pro Management and University of New England, Mount Barker, WA.

The competition aims to reward and encourage young and upcoming producers, industry professionals and scientists to consider a future or ongoing career in the Australian lamb industry.

LambEx 2018 chair Bindi Murray said she was excited by the strong field of entries and the nine finalists who had been selected.

“It’s important to help support and provide opportunities for young people in agriculture.

“We need to ensure more young people become involved in the sheep and lamb industry to build on the current buoyancy and help secure its ongoing success,” she said.

NAB Head of Agribusiness for SA & WA, Matt O’Dea, said it was important to celebrate emerging leaders in the agriculture industry and give them the opportunity to provide input into the direction of their industry.

“NAB Agribusiness throws its support behind this event because we strongly believe in the importance of providing opportunities for young leaders.

“We have great confidence in the future of the sheep and lamb industry with the calibre of young people that the LambEx Young Guns Competition continues to attract,” he said.

Australian White Suffolk Association board member Andrew Heinrich said the Young Guns concept was a great opportunity for youth, and his association was very proud to be a competition sponsor.

“It provides a wonderful example to help young people from within the industry to grow and develop more confidence and experience, as well as improve their networking skills.

“It has been really wonderful to be involved in the process and see the growth of previous finalists,” he said.

The LambEx 2018 Young Guns Competition is held thanks to sponsors the Australian White Suffolk Association and the National Australia Bank.

Young Gun Career Professional finalists

Danila Marini, University of New England, Armidale, NSW

Danila Marini

Danila attended Urrbrae Agricultural High School in SA and studied a Bachelor of Animal Science at the University of Adelaide. In 2013, she was awarded a first class honours degree for her thesis investigating the effects of intrauterine growth restriction on stress responses in sheep.

In 2013, she moved to Armidale, NSW, and commenced a PhD with the University of New England, in conjunction with the CSIRO, investigating self-medication methods in sheep. In 2014, she was selected as a Young Farming Champion as part of the Art4Agriculture program. The NSW Farmers member serves on the body’s animal welfare committee. In 2017, she was awarded a PhD and, moved into a post doctorate with the University of New England, focusing on the use of virtual fencing to better manage sheep. She is now working in the Rural R&D for Profit program, which includes research and development toward the implementation of virtual herding technology in livestock.

Andrea McKenzie, Department of Agriculture & Fisheries, Charleville, Qld

Andrea McKenzie

Andrea graduated with first class honours from the Veterinary School at the University of Queensland Gatton Campus in 2014. She has worked in a mixed veterinary practice in Dubbo, NSW, as a locum in Katherine, Northern Territory and in St George, Queensland.  After two years of clinical practice, Andrea spent the end of 2016 and beginning of 2017 working full-time on her family’s sheep, cattle and goat enterprise 180km south east of Cunnamulla, QLD. She began an extension job with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries in mid-2017, focusing on a project supporting graziers to improve business and drought resilience.


John Gardner, South Mokanger, Cavendish, Victoria

John Gardner

John completed a Bachelor of Construction Management and Economics at the University of SA before working for GN Project Management, a residential construction company. He has worked as an assistant project manager for a development company in Sydney and recently took over as managing director of his family’s farm, running 11,500 self-replacing composite breeding ewes on 1440 hectares and 220 hectares of crop.

He completed a Diploma in Agriculture in 2017 and is currently completing a Leadership course through Australian Rural Leadership and Sheep Producers Australia. He is involved in two Best Wool Best Lamb Groups and the local grasslands committee and is on the LDL advisory committee to represent producers.

Young Gun High School finalists

Zach Baker, Kojonup District High School, Kojonup, WA

Zach Baker

Zach is 15 years old and has lived on a family farm in Kojonup all his life. He has been around sheep his whole life and has a great interest in them. The Year 10 student at Kojonup District High School also has an active role with the sheep on the school farm as well at home on the farm.

He has attended some sheep information days, and this has helped to boost his interest in sheep. He likes sheep because they seem easy to handle and they are an interesting career path.

Hannah Haupt, Calvary Christian College, Carbrook, Qld

Hannah Haupt

Hannah is a Year 10 student at Calvary Christian College. She is a member of the school’s Livestock Show Team and studies Agricultural Science as an elective subject. She has qualified for the 2018 Queensland Young Judges State Meat Sheep Finals and received a 2017 EKKA Young Judges (junior) Scholarship to Queensland Agricultural Colleges TASTE program. The scholarship covers many areas of agriculture including sheep and lamb. Hannah plays an active part in her school’s Junior Ag program, helping out regularly with a variety of sheep husbandry and paddock maintenance. She is very passionate about the sheep and lamb industry and would gladly consider having a career in the sheep and lamb industry in the near future.

Lindsay Brown, Yanco Agricultural High School

Lindsay Brown

Lindsay is 17 years old and hails from a sheep and winter cropping farm near Beckom in the Riverina, NSW. He often helps with husbandry operations with his family’s prime lamb and wool enterprises, including crutching, lamb marking, shearing, drenching, backlining, drafting and selecting terminal meat breed rams for their first-cross ewe and prime lamb production enterprises.

He recently bought a small mob of 20 head of first cross ewes to produce his own prime lambs with the White Suffolk sires he has selected. He aims to produce lambs for the light trade/domestic market to decrease inputs required to grow them out to heavier weights and to simplify production while he is still at school. He has completed a Certificate IV in Woolclassing course. He has also been heavily involved in the White Suffolk stud that his school owns and been involved with ram sales, showing sheep at shows and participating in junior judging competitions including the Sydney Royal Easter show at the state final.

Undergraduate, postgraduate, masters & PhD Young Guns finalists

Amy Lockwood, Murdoch University, Baldivis, WA

Amy Lockwood

Amy completed a Bachelor of Animal Science with First Class Honours at Murdoch University in 2014. Her honours project was funded by MLA and an AWET scholarship, and found supplementing ewes with large doses of vitamin D in late pregnancy has potential to improve lamb survival. She has completed her PhD at Murdoch University and has submitted her thesis.

Her thesis demonstrated that reducing the mob size of twin-bearing ewes at lambing improved lamb survival on commercial farms. Since 2015, she has played a major role in a large national project funded by AWI and MLA, “Improving lamb survival by optimising lambing density”, which is quantifying the impacts of mob size and stocking rate on lamb survival. Engagement in this research has enabled her to build a network with sheep producers in WA along with other researchers and members of the industry across Australia. In 2016 she was awarded a Science and Innovation Award for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry which funded a multidisciplinary research project to investigate the potential use of drones for monitoring during lambing and research related to ewe-lamb behaviour and lamb survival.

Jamie Nykiel, Murdoch University, Murdoch, WA

Jamie Nykiel

Jamie is in her third year of a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Animal Science/Animal Health at Murdoch University in WA. Jamie has been selected to attend the New Colombo Study Tour China for Murdoch in June 2018, as well as the National Merino Challenge, and the UQBS Sheep Meat Value Chain Training Program. Jamie was an Associate Judge for Merino Section of Perth Royal Show in 2017.

In 2017 she also attended the AgVivo SIBI Sheep Camp and she has had Extramural Farm Experience at Balmoral Park Stud, Laterite Ridge Eggs, Peninsula Down Pty Ltd, Westland Acres and Ingle.

Georgia Reid, Ag Pro Management & University of New England, Mount Barker, WA

Georgia Reid

Georgia grew up on the family farm in Boyup Brook in the south west of WA. The 50:50 cropping and sheep operation has a self-replacing Merino flock with a focus on lamb and wool, and crossbred lambs produced for export and domestic markets. Georgia graduated from UWA with a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (honours) in 2014. As part of her degree, her honours project investigated the impact of the media coverage of live export on WA producers.

Currently, she is midway through a Graduate Certificate in Agricultural Consulting, through the University of New England. She is completing this degree part time focusing on meat technology and production, while developing a career in livestock consulting. As part of MLA’s Future Livestock Consultant Program, she began a role as a livestock systems consultant with AgPro Management in February 2017.

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