FINALISTS in the prestigious Peter Westblade Scholarship have been announced from a national field, with seven young wool professionals vying for the award.
The finalists a panel of Peter Westblade Scholarship committee members include Anna Cotton from Swansea, Joe Walden from Yass, Harrison Stonnill, Jerilderie, Mathew Connor, Taralga, Jane Brien, Wellington and Hilary Beech and Veronika Hartmeier both from Wagga.
The finalists will attend the Peter Westblade Memorial Merino Challenge Shearing in Wagga, NSW, on March 1 and 2, with the recipient announced at the Peter Westblade Scholarship announcement and auction dinner at the Murrumbidgee Turf Club at 6.30pm on March 1.
Now entering its seventh year, the scholarship will provide opportunities and in-kind support worth up to $10,000 over a 12-month period. The recipient will benefit from practical skills training, mentoring and the establishment of industry networks.
The scholarship honours the late Peter Westblade, a Lockhart sheep producer passionate about breeding profitable sheep, and a supporter of young people interested in agriculture.
Scholarship finalist judging was tough
Peter Westblade Scholarship chairman Craig Wilson said the calibre of the 2018 applicants was high with the judging panel faced with a tough decision.
Anna Cotton, 26, works on the family farm, Kelvedan Estate, and would use the 12 months to educate herself further through learning from a range of wool enterprises and attending industry events.
Joe Walden, 23, works at Cavan Station, home of Bogo Merinos, and is particularly interested in the use of technology to capture data for analysis.
Harrison Stonnill, 23, is employed in the family business, Cocketgedong and after finishing a Bachelor of Business in Agriculture would like to network with industry leaders to learn more about sheep and wool production.
Mathew Connor, 27, is employed by Stephen Connor Shearing Contracting and aims to further his knowledge in genetics and wool production.
Jane Brien, 22, works in the family business Bella Lana Merino Stud and is interested in the use of technology to assist genetic gain.
Hilary Beech, 23, is employed with Holmes and Sackett and would use the scholarship to study breeding objectives and how genetic traits are influenced by the environment.
Veronika Hartmeier, 22, is employed by Moses and Son and is interested in technology in the wool industry and adding value at the farm gate through better management decisions.
The scholarship runs parallel with the 2018 Peter Westblade Memorial Merino Challenge Shearing on March 1 and 2 held at North Wagga TAFE, from 7.30am-5pm.
Jim Honner of Thank a Farmer for Your Next Meal will be special guest speaker at the PWS Scholarship announcement and Auction Dinner held at 6.30pm at the Murrumbidgee Turf Club on March 1.
Jim is co-founder of Thank a Farmer for Your Next Meal, a social media juggernaut with over 50,000 followers showcasing where food and fibre comes from, who makes it and how.
Items for auction have been generously donated by Lady Kate Knitwear, Matt Moran’s Chiswick Restaurant- Sydney, Love Merino, Bluey Merino, Hazeldean, Sheep CRC, Riverina Wool Testers, Centre Plus Merinos, Greendale Merinos, One Oak Poll Merinos and Wood Park Poll Merinos.
Auction items also include repeat contributor Carina Chambers Design and Direction along with Chantel Renee Photography, and 8 Irons Sculpture. This year for the first time bidders can participate in the auction remotely by dialling in to bid or bidding whilst at the Peter Westblade Memorial Merino Challenge.
For further information on the scholarship or auction dinner and tickets – please visit www.pwscholarship.com.au or contact Georgie McGuiness on 0437 473 414.