YOUNG people wanting to make a difference in the sheep and wool industry have seven weeks to apply for the prestigious 2016 Peter Westblade Scholarship.
The scholarship is open to young people aged 18 to 30 years and provides cash and in-kind support worth up to $10,000 over a 12-month period.
It honours the late Peter Westblade, a Lockhart sheep producer passionate about breeding profitable sheep, and a supporter of young people interested in agriculture.
Applications opened on November 25 and will close on January 20, 2016, with applicants short-listed in early February next year for interviews by an industry panel.
Co-ordinator Sally Martin said the scholarship aimed to deliver hands-on experience to young people aspiring for a career in the sheep and wool industry.
“It provides practical education and mentoring for young participants, while promoting, demonstrating and adopting new technologies within the sheep and wool industry.
“The scholarship is also designed to encourage young people into the sheep and wool industry by demonstrating opportunities and career pathways,’’ she said.
The 2016 recipient will receive mentoring from industry leaders, involvement in the industry’s largest commercial genetic trial – the Peter Westblade Memorial Merino Challenge — practical training, travel opportunities, resource books, and the opportunity to develop wider networks of key industry contacts.
Strong 2015 entries yield joint winners
In 2015 the joint scholarship winners from 29 finalists were, Wagga Wagga agricultural business student Casey Annetts and Merino stud breeder Jayden Harris.
Casey is studying a Bachelor of Agricultural Business Management at Wagga Wagga and heard about the scholarship when industry professionals shared a link on social media.
“I applied for the scholarship to show that someone from a non-farming background can achieve things in the sheep industry, to share my passion for sheep and to stimulate an interest among younger people in the industry.”
She lists extension work as her specialty and is keen to be a role model for the younger generation.
Jayden Harris is principal of the Brimanna Poll Merino stud, Yeelana, South Australia, that sells about 60 rams a year at an on-property sale. He runs 700 ewes and aims to produce dual-purpose rams in the 19-21 micron range to give clients an opportunity to turn off wether lambs.
Jayden also works off-farm for a scanning business, and pregnancy scans more than 75,000 ewes across the Eyre Peninsula each year. He also offers micron testing and eye muscle depth scanning.
“I applied for the scholarship to explore new technology to make the sheep industry more efficient, such as electronic identification, walk-over-weighing, juvenile invitro-fertilisation and improvements in AI programs,” he said.
The 2016 Peter Westblade Scholarship recipient will be announced at a dinner in Wagga Wagga, NSW, on March 2.
For more information visit www.peterwestbladescholarship.com.au
Source: Craig Wilson and Associates.