SOUTH Australian farmer Leith Tilley and Victorian research scientist Stephanie Muir are the winners of Australia’s 2019 Sheep Industry Ambassador Award.
Sheep Producers Australia said they will travel to New Zealand in March to attend the New Zealand Sheep Industry Ambassador Program to foster up-and-coming leaders.
The award includes a week-long study tour from 25-30 March, with visits showcasing the industry supply chain across the country’s north and south islands with ambassadors of the New Zealand and United States sheep industries.
SPA said the program will create a forum of young producers and industry leaders from the United States, Australia and New Zealand to share ideas, network and to broaden the understanding of sheep farming practices and importance of trade in agriculture in all three countries.
A range of other opportunities and professional development are also included as part of the ambassador award, SPA said. Successful applicants will have the chance to represent sheep producers and their interests at a national level by contributing to industry initiatives with the SPA Board or Committees. This input will influence the strategy, policy development, advocacy or industry leadership to guide the industry’s future, SPA said. Sheep Producers Australia and Meat & Livestock Australia said they were proud to offer this opportunity to build leadership capability for the sheep industry.
Leith Tilley is responsible for the livestock side of his family’s 3000-hectare Greenwith Farms mixed farming business. The Tilley family run 3000 merino ewes mated to Merino and White Suffolk sires with a strong focus on developing a flock that is plain bodied, fast growing and highly fertile.
Prior to returning to the family farm, Leith built an extensive background in all areas of the supply chain including leading the MLA team based in China, as well as sales and marketing roles with Thomas Foods International, Australia’s largest family-owned sheep meat processor and Ranges Valley.
Leith told SPA he has a strong vision for the future of the Australian sheep meat industry, with rapidly developing technology allowing farmers to unlock the individual performance of ewes to make greater genetic gains.
Stephanie Muir is a lamb production research with Agriculture Victoria at Hamilton. She is from Hawkesdale in south-west Victoria and is a Research Scientist with Agriculture Victoria based at Hamilton. She is involved with programs measuring the feed efficiency phenotype of sheep as well the effects of different forage types on sheep methane emissions.
Stephanie told SPA she has a strong interest in technologies which can be used on farm and for research purposes to enable improvements in production efficiency and animal welfare.
Through the ambassador program Stephanie hopes to develop connections with producers, industry bodies and government — nationally and internationally — which will enable the delivery of quality research outcomes to benefit sheep producers and the sheep industry.