Australian woolgrowers map out 10-year plan

Headshot of Bob Garnant
Bob GarnantCountryman
Stud Merino Breeders Association of WA vice president Allan Hobley, of Nyabing, was a participant in the Woolgrower Consultation Group’s online national meeting.
Camera IconStud Merino Breeders Association of WA vice president Allan Hobley, of Nyabing, was a participant in the Woolgrower Consultation Group’s online national meeting. Credit: Bob Garnant/Countryman, Bob Garnant

A national woolgrower group held an online meeting last Thursday to chart a 10-year strategic plan to engage future generations into the industry.

The Woolgrower Consultation Group, organised by Australian Wool Innovation, brought together more than 50 wool industry leaders with an aim to deliver Wool 2030 — a strategic plan for Australian woolgrowers.

This included next generation members of WCG, from across Australia, who have been identified by the group as future leaders.

Stud Merino Breeder Association of WA vice-president and Next Gen member Allan Hambley, of Nyabing, said he represented the viewpoint of both a ram supplier-seller and a Woolgrower at the online Zoom meeting.

“The first meeting was a meet and greet which will be followed by several discussions on many topics,” he said.

“The purpose of these meetings are to define what would encourage young people into the industry.”

The WCG, which held its inaugural meeting in Sydney in November, represents a broad-based group comprising 29 representatives of national, state and regional production-based woolgrowers and broadacre farming groups.

It also includes members of the Woolgrower Industry Consultation Panel, which is a smaller body made up of seven national Woolgrower representative organisations.

The meeting discussed the background, purpose, scope and process of delivery of the strategy.

Commercial Merino Ewe Competition Association representative Tom Kirk, of Dubbo, NSW, said it was great that so many groups with an interest in wool were working together.

“The WCG is closely aligned with AWI in not being there to pick favourites, we’re all part of the one industry and shareholders in the one company,” he said.

“Broad industry input and vision is welcomed into the planning process.”

NSW Stud Merino Breeders Association president Drew Chapman said the ten-year plan discussion was on the importance of engaging more young people into the industry.

NSW’s Merino breeder and stock and station agent Emma Northey, 22, was one of the future wool industry leaders involved in developing the plan.

“My ambition is to ensure the industry can efficiently adapt and evolve whilst remaining sustainable for our future generations,” she said.

AWI chief executive Stuart McCullough said the whole purpose of the plan was to keep wool profitable and sustainable.

“AWI is proud to listen to and work with representatives across the length and breadth of the wool industry,” he said.

“It is enormously important to tap into the ideas and passion of Next Gen growers who will be our industry’s leaders and champions for years to come.”

The outcomes from the WCG meeting will contribute to the development of a series of five discussion papers to be provided to its members for debate and feedback in order to draft Wool 2030.

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