PEAK grower body WoolProducers Australia has selected seven people from the industry to undertake its 2019 ‘Raising the Baa – Leadership in Agriculture’ program.
The Raising the Baa Program has two streams, with applicants able to apply to undertake a fully-funded company directors’ course with the Australian Institute of Company Directors, or to be considered for a WoolProducers’ Youth Ambassador position.
Due to the calibre of the Raising the Baa applicants, WoolProducers has selected two youth ambassadors, who will work on developing policy briefs and implementation strategies for two key industry issues.
The youth ambassadors are Elders wool technical co-ordinator Samantha Wan from Victoria and Shelby Garnett from the Willemenup Poll Merino stud, Gnowangerup, Western Australia. Shelby is currently studying a Bachelor of Agribusiness at Marcus Oldham College in Geelong Victoria.
Shelby Garnett said she owed her passion for the wool industry to her family, which has been involved in stud Merino breeding and wool production for four generations. She has been actively involved in production to marketing of stud genetics and the wool clip. She is elated to have been announced as one of the WPA Youth Ambassadors for 2020 as it will take her passion for politics and the wool industry to the next level.
Samantha Wan is the Elders Wool Technical Coordinator at the Elders National Wool Selling Centre in Melbourne. She was the 2018 Elders “Thomas Elder” Employee of the Year, a 2018 Finalist for the National Council of Wool Selling Brokers of Australia’s Annual Wool Broker Award and a 2017 Wool Young Farming Champion.
This year, the successful applicants who will undertake the company directors’ course in Sydney in mid-June are:
Stephen Lee – South Australia
Stephen Lee is manager of the South Australia Sheep Industry Blueprint, responsible for development and implementation of the $300M value chain wide growth strategy for the SA wool and sheep meat industry. He also works within the Davies Research Centre at the University of Adelaide in various areas and is active in the state’s Australian Merino Sire Evaluation Association site at Keyneton. He is the South Australian representative on the National Wool Industry Research Development and Extension (Wool RDE) Strategy.
Timothy Flynn – New South Wales
Tim works as a solicitor in private practice in Dubbo, NSW. He grew up on his family’s sheep and cattle property near Mudgee, NSW. In 2010 he was selected to compete in the AWEX Graduate Wool Classing Competition at the Royal Easter Show and continues to class the family clip and others in the area. Tim studied a double degree in Business (Agribusiness) and Law at the University of New England in Armidale and now mainly works with clients in property and commercial law, and estate planning. He hopes to expand and vertically integrate the family’s farming enterprise into a single source, fleece to garment business.
Dione Howard – New South Wales
Dione Howard is a Riverina Local Land Service veterinarian originally from Lockhart, NSW. She developed a love for sheep and wool on the family farm; home to Illawarra Merino Stud. Dione is sponsored by Australian Wool Innovation to be a member of the Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champions program and has attended AWI’s Young Woolgrower Study Tour to China and Hong Kong. Dione completed an Honours project investigating the communication and extension preferences of Australian sheep producers for improving the management of animal diseases.
Samantha Neumann – South Australia
Samantha grew up on her family’s wheat and wool property, east of the Barossa ranges. She is still involvement in the family operation, but is currently employed by Elders national livestock team’s e-commerce coordinator. She focusses on developing and delivering digital solutions that connect producers to their markets and enable agents to be relevant and responsive through technology adaption. Samantha enjoys participation in a number of industry bodies, including SA Sheep Expo and SA Agricultural Bureau.
Karen Smith – Western Australia
Karen is an experienced project-management professional working full-time on farm. She is looking to represent grains, hay and sheep industries to ensure practical application of levy funds maintain positive on-ground and supply chain outcomes. Karen also has a keen interest in promoting a ‘systems view’ of adaptive management, specifically looking at not only the farming system but the wider economic, social and environmental systems that are interconnected and rely on agriculture.
WoolProducers Australia president, Ed Storey said the company directors course is a fantastic opportunity for future leaders from all sectors of the wool industry to develop and refine their leadership skills for positions on industry Boards.
“The skills are very important to ensure good governance and leadership is understood before people contribute to a board.”
Mr Storey said the youth ambassador position exposes people aged 18 -35 years to policy within WoolProducers and gives them the opportunity to learn and understand the policy cycle and how a board works so they understand how many decisions that affect the wool industry are handled by WoolProducers.
WoolProducers chief executive officer Jo Hall said the calibre of applicants for the company directors course and the youth ambassador positions are of an exceptionally high standard.
“We are excited to offer these positions and look forward to working with them as they develop their industry knowledge and professional skills.
“I look forward to following their progression in industry in the future using what they learn in the company directors course and as our youth ambassadors,” Ms Hall said.