WOOL and sheep industry workers and students from New South Wales and Victoria are vying for the prestigious Peter Westblade Scholarship this year.
Emma McCrabb, of Hay, Sally Smyth, of Broken Hill, Joe Walden of Yass, Rachael Gawne and Jodi Davis both from Wagga, and Harrison Mulquiny of Wooroonook were chosen from a strong group of applicants by a panel of Peter Westblade Scholarship committee members.
The finalists will attend the Peter Westblade Memorial Merino Challenge shearing in Wagga Wagga, NSW, on April 6 and 7. The sixth scholarship winner will be announced at the Peter Westblade Scholarship and auction dinner at the Murrumbidgee Turf Club at 7pm on April 6.
The scholarship provides opportunities and in-kind support worth up to $10,000 over a 12-month period, with the winner also benefiting from practical skills training, mentoring and the establishment of industry networks.
The scholarship is open to young people aged 18-30 years and honours the late Peter Westblade, a Lockhart sheep producer who was passionate about breeding profitable sheep and supporting young people interested in agriculture.
Emma McCrabb, 22, is studying Agriculture and Business at the University of New England, Armidale, and aims to expand her knowledge and practical skills in the wool industry.
Sally Smyth 22, is a rural contractor and would like to learn more about all aspects of the Merino industry to expand her business.
Joe Walden 22, works at Cavan Station, home of Bogo Merinos, and aims to learn from industry leaders to gain more experience.
Rachael Gawne 22, has an Animal Science degree from Charles Sturt University, Wagga, and aspires to empowering producers to make management decisions to benefit flocks and increase returns.
Jodi Davis, 25, is studying Agricultural Business at Charles Sturt, Wagga, and her career goals include expanding her skill base to increase profits through the use of technology and educating the broader community.
Harrison Mulquiny, 21, is interested in how different Merino bloodlines perform in varying environmental conditions. He aims to increase his knowledge of genetics and breeding to implement technology as a management tool for increased flock productivity.
The scholarship runs parallel with the 2017 Peter Westblade Memorial Merino Challenge Shearing on April 6 and 7 held at North Wagga TAFE, from 7.30am to 5pm.
Scholarship chairman Craig Wilson said the committee faced a difficult decision in deciding the 2017 recipient.
“The applicants were all outstanding as a whole,’’ Mr Wilson said.
Chantel McAlister of Chantel Renee Photography will be guest speaker at the 2017 PWS auction dinner.
Chantel is am ambassador for the Australian wool industry and is on a six month ‘Truth about Wool Tour’ showcasing the industry.
Scholarship executive officer Georgie McGuiness said there had been a fantastic response from the Merino and wool industry to donated items for the auction. Items have been donated by David Taylor Photography, Carina Chambers Design and Direction, Lady Kate Knitwear, Linder Socks, Tyrrells Wines, Pastora Merinos, Riverina Wool Testers, Wooldoza, Sheep CRC, Hazeldean, Grassy Creek Merinos, Bogo Merinos and Woolerina.
Tickets for the auction dinner are available at www.pwscholarship.com.au
For more information on the scholarship or auction dinner please visit www.pwscholarship.com.au or contact Georgie McGuiness on 02 4835 2379.