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National Merino leader will promote breed’s profit stories

Terry Sim, April 17, 2015
AASMB president Georgina Wallace with her husband Hamish.

AASMB president Georgina Wallace with her husband Hamish.

The first woman to lead Australia’s Merino stud sheep breeders is keen to start promoting the nation’s primary wool-producing breed.

Respected judge Georgina Wallace, 51, has been elected unopposed as the first Tasmanian and first female president of the Australian Association of Stud Merino Breeders.

“Merino ewe numbers are declining, but there are a lot of stud and commercial operations around the country that are solely Merino and are very profitable.

“I just want to highlight that,” she said.

“There will be a bit of a strategy to try to promote the wonderful Australian Merino sheep.

“It is dual purpose and a lot of people are making a good income out of them at the moment.”

After her election in Melbourne last week to replace Victorian breeder Phil Toland, Mrs Wallace, the current president of the Stud Merino Breeders of Tasmania, said she was very honoured to be elected into the national position.

“It’s very exciting.”

Mrs Wallace said as the first female AASMB president she wanted to bring a balanced approach and view to the council table.

“I get on well with most people within the wool and stud Industry, so I will be focused very much on a united effort to tackle any issues that the association faces.

“I think it’s fantastic that Tasmania has its first president and if it gives us some more recognition for the Tasmanian Merino stud Industry, well that’s a plus,” she said.

“But all states need to work together for the ‘Mighty Merino’.”

Merino breeders have profitable options

She said Merino breeders with good frame sheep had options to combine wool income with returns from first cross ewe and prime lamb production. She would work to promote Merinos as a profitable and sustainable enterprise.

“Our challenge is going to be to inform people that it is not all doom and gloom in the Merino sheep industry and there are some good stories to be told.”

Mr Toland said Mrs Wallace’s election is an historic changeover. He had been campaigning for her to take over for some time.

“She’s well respected and popular, and is just a good move for the association to have a Tasmanian and a woman as president – everyone is happy about it.”

New president’s family part of Tasmania’s Merino history

Mrs Wallace and her husband Hamish run a mixed farming operation on the 7000 hectare property Trefusis, near Ross. They have three daughters. The Trefusis operation includes a 10,000-ewe self-replacing composite flock, a commercial Hereford herd, and a superfine-fine Merino stud established by her father Jim McEwan in 1963. Recent sires used in the Trefusis Merino stud have come from the Nerstane, Langdene and Roseville Park studs. The stud also has a sire in a New England evaluation trial.

“I’m keen to become more involved in that side of it.”

Mrs Wallace said she has always had a passion for Merino sheep and wool. The Trefusis property also had the potential to supply various livestock markets and the Wallaces had just embarked on a centre pivot irrigation program to finish lambs and cattle.

Wool Poll 15 panel member urges grower turn-out

Mrs Wallace also this year was put forward as the AAMSB representative on the Wool Poll 2015 panel. She said it was in woolgrowers’ best interests to participate in the Wool Poll vote.

“It is their money that are paying in through levies and as levy payers they have a right to have a say.

“Whatever percentage it comes out at, it is important that they vote.”

Mrs Wallace has also been heavily involved with the Campbelltown Show committee for 15 years.

At the AAMSB annual general meeting in Melbourne on April 10, South Australian breeder Peter Myer took over from Jock MacRae as vice president and Mr Toland assumed the treasurer’s position with the retirement of John Daniel from SA. The AASMB council also farewelled board members Kevin Keatley from WA who has served since 2011; John Daniel from SA who has held multiple executive roles on the council since 2009.

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