Researcher Dr Danila Marini, Armidale, NSW, West Australian university student Jamie Nykiel and NSW Riverina high school student Lindsay Brown are the LambEx 2018 Young Guns.
They were selected from a field of nine finalists over categories covering young producers and professionals, undergraduate and postgraduate students and years 10-12 secondary school students.
The finalists were presented to the Monday afternoon session of LambEx 2018 at Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre before the winners in each category were announced.
Representatives from LambEx 2018 Young Guns competition sponsors who helped choose the winners, Andrew Heinrich from the Australian White Suffolk Association and Finley Leach from National Australia Bank Agribusiness, presented them with framed certificates.
The winners also each receive $1000.
Dr Marini, 27, who is undertaking post-doctorate research on virtual herding technologies at University of New England as part of the Rural R&D for Profit programme, said she was very appreciative of the competition and prize.
“It is just fantastic to be involved in the industry in this way and for LambEx to embrace the upcoming generation of students and professionals,” Dr Marini said after her win.
“It is also great to see that the work we (researchers) are doing is of interest to the industry and can make a difference,” she said.
Last year Dr Marini’s PhD thesis at University of New England was on virtual fencing to better manage sheep.
A member of NSW Farmers and their animal welfare committee, she moved to Armidale from South Australia in 2013 after obtaining a Bachelor of Animal Science at the University of Adelaide with first class honours for her thesis on the effects of intrauterine growth restriction on stress responses in sheep.
Just returned from a study tour of China which included visits to sheep and cattle enterprises there, third-year Murdoch University Bachelor of Science student majoring in animal science and animal health, Ms Nykiel, 22, was also appreciative of LambEx and the Young Guns competition.
“I’m extremely excited to have won, it means (the industry) is leaning towards a brighter future and wanting to have a good representation of the younger generation coming up,” Ms Nykiel said.
Originally from Queensland and now living on campus, she represented WA at the National Merino Challenge and attended the UQBS Sheep Meat Value Chain training program.
Last year she was an associate judge for the Merino section at the IGA Perth Royal Show and also attended the AgVivo SIBI Sheep Camp.
For Yanco Agricultural High School student Lindsay Brown, 17, attending LambEx was prize enough.
“Winning was a bonus, I’m just happy to come across to Perth for LambEx,” he said.
Raised on a sheep and winter cropping farm near Beckom in the Riverina, Lindsay recently bought his own mob of 20 first cross ewes to produce his own prime lambs with the White Suffolk sires he has selected.
He is also involved with his school’s White Suffolk stud and ram sales, showing sheep at shows and participating in junior judging competitions, including the Sydney Royal Easter show at the state final.
He has already completed a Certificate IV in Woolclassing.
Lindsay said he planned a “gap year” helping on his parents’ farm, doing some wool classing and some work for the local wool broker when he completes secondary school.
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“Then it’ll probably be off to university or whatever else comes up,” he said.
The competition aims to reward and encourage young and upcoming producers, industry professionals and scientists to consider a future or career in the lamb industry.
Each of the finalists had to get through a first round which included identifying and discussing key opportunities that in future will affect the Australian lamb and sheepmeat industry currently worth an estimated $4.38 billion to the national economy.
In the second round they had to design a poster and make an in-person presentation with questions from the four judges.
They were assessed on communication style, whether their presentation helped the audience understand the topic and how the audience reacted at a professional development workshop on the Sunday before LambEx was formally opened.