Joint winners from a high calibre field of six finalists have been announced in the prestigious sheep and wool industry’s Peter Westblade scholarship.
Young sheep industry professionals Chloe Dutschke and Brett Stockings were chosen from a field of applicants from NSW, South Australia and Western Australia by a panel of industry judges.
The winners were announced at the Peter Westblade Scholarship and auction dinner at the Murrumbidgee Turf Club on April 4.
The other four finalists were Sebastian Liphuzen, Deniliqun, NSW, Georgia Reid, Boyup Brook, WA, Josh Cousins, Burra, SA, and Luke Ramsay, Kimba, SA.
Now entering its eighth year, the scholarship will provide opportunities and in-kind support worth up to $10,000 over a 12-month period.
The winners will benefit from practical skills training, mentoring and the establishment of industry networks.
Open to young people, 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.
Brett Stockings, 31, of Dubbo, NSW, manages the sales and marketing of sheep meat for the Middle East and North Africa for Fletcher International Exports.
Brett is keen to strengthen his knowledge in understanding value adding and meal preparation, and how catering companies and retailers do their meal and plate costings.
He will use the scholarship to spend time with marketing companies to learn different ideas and techniques meat and wool marketing.
“I aim to continually grow and open new international markets for Australian sheep meat and co-products,’’ Brett said.
“I want to see an increase in lamb and mutton dishes in restaurants and on café menus, and ensure we maintain affordability for all consumer budgets, along with meeting changing consumer demands, cultures and religious beliefs.
“I plan to spend time with some high level chefs, catering companies, butchers and retailers looking at different ways we can break down carcasses and develop meals and products for various budgets, catering purposes, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and consumer demands.
“As Australian sheep meat prices rise we need to ensure we maintain our ability to provide a high quality product to suit all consumer budgets, trends and remain competitive with other sheep production countries.’’
Chloe Dutschke, 26, of Stirling North, SA, is a self-employed contract musterer working across NSW and South Australia, has a Bachelor of Animal Science at the University of Adelaide and participated in the Young Farming Champion program.
Chloe was encouraged to apply for the scholarship to develop ideas of a collaborative technology platform.
She will use the scholarship for work experience with consulting companies to understand how they work with farmers and other companies to achieve on-property results.
“I have a specific interest in helping pastoralists make the most from their properties and see on-property consulting an area I would like to pursue,’’ Chloe said.
“I see positive encouragement for young people to bring new ideas and innovation to our industry, while collaborating with more experienced generations.’’
Chloe aims to develop a website, app or media platform with access to information such as jobs, scholarships and events in a quick and user-friendly way.
Scholarship executive officer Georgie McGuiness said the committee faced a difficult decision in deciding the 2019 recipients.
Ms McGuiness said the applicants were all outstanding and passionate about shaping the future of the sheep and wool industry.
An auction of donated goods and services held during the scholarship dinner raised $15, 650 together with annual donations bringing the total to $17,650 raised.
Ms McGuiness thanked sponsors Craig Wilson and Associates, Sally Martin Consulting, TA Field Estates, Bogo Merinos, McCorkell Pastoral Co, Outcross Media, Landmark, Riverina Wool Testers, Moses and Son Woolbrokers, Hazeldean, Woodpark Poll Merinos, Pastora, Roseville Park Merinos, The Woolmark Company, Grassy Creek Merinos, McGuiness Farms, Yarrawonga Merinos, Neogen, Smitten Inc, Beecher Wool Services and Gordon Litchfield Wool.