Macdonald says shearer shortage industry's number one threat

AWI candidate Don Macdonald vows to work hard for Australia's shearing industry

Sheep
AWI board member Don Macdonald is standing for re-election.

AWI board member Don Macdonald is standing for re-election.

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The very real and present danger of Australia's shearer shortage it on top of Don Macdonald's "unfinished business" list if re-elected.

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Australia's continuing threat of shearer and shed hand shortages is one of the reasons existing AWI board director Don Macdonald is seeking re-election.

It's on top of his list of "unfinished business", he said.

"I stood because I felt there were some issues that needed addressing," woolgrower and wool broker Mr Macdonald said.

"Amongst other concerns, one of my main concerns was that if we don't modernise, we won't get the next generation of farmers wanting to run Merino sheep."

He said he felt he had the specific skills to assist the board's decision making in a number of projects the company is already undertaking.

But it's the shearer and shed hand training that he ranks as the number one risk to Australia's wool industry.

"The biggest threat to the wool industry is alternate land use, in other words woolgrowers stop growing Merinos," Mr Macdonald said.

"Growers and sectors always seem to focus on mulesing as our number one issue, but I believe being able to get our sheep shorn, harvested, into the bales and off to markets as the number one issue.

"This is a major threat to the industry and it's right here at home. This is very real and very present.

"If that just gets too hard for people, as we saw last year, it tests everyone mentally - in particular growers and contractors.

"In the back of our minds, at some point of time, there has got to be a silver bullet.

"Yes we have to train the current workforce, but we have also got to be looking at what are we going to be doing in 30 or 40 years time and prepare ourselves for that."

Growers and sectors always seem to focus on mulesing as our number one issue, but I believe being able to get our sheep shorn, harvested, into the bales and off to markets as the number one issue. - Don Macdonald

His other unfinished project is the environmental footprint in Europe, new proposed labelling laws and how it will affect Aussie woolgrowers.

"We had to roll our sleeves up and walk corridors of people that matter and lobby on behalf of the wool industry to push back at green-washing by manmade fibres and correct the imbalance of truth around the environmental footprint," Mr Macdonald said.

"We are doing some good work in the area but we are not there yet. We have got a long way to go and I suspect this will be a long-term thing."

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New EU labelling laws threaten Aussie wool industry

Since his introduction into the wool industry in 1975, Mr Macdonald has been a wool classer, shearer, wool advisor, auctioneer, wool broker and grower.

He said he is only seeking re-election for one more term, believing in the capped term of 10 years.

"If I am re-elected this time that will more than likely be the last time," he said.

"I am a woolgrower, but I am a wool broker as well.

"The board needs a broad range of skills on it; woolgrowers shouldn't be worried that people from other parts of the pipeline have a lot to offer in that area.

"Fellow candidate Steven Read is not a wool broker, he is a wool processor.

"The thing about wool brokers is they are always working in woolgorwers best interest.

"I think one of the things that you remind yourself of is the woolgrower test which AWI articulates within itself on a regular basis. Is what we are doing pass the test for woolgrowers - is that money being put to good use?

"I would pride myself on being in a good position to judge as a woolgrower and a broker on what we are spending on passing the woolgrower test."

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