Such was the calibre of the finalists in the prestigious sheep and wool industry’s Peter Westblade scholarship that joint winners have been announced.
Young sheep industry professionals Murray Smith and Brodie Carpenter were chosen from a field of applicants from NSW, Queensland and Tasmania by a panel of industry judges.
The winners were announced at the Peter Westblade Scholarship and auction dinner at the Magpies Nest restaurant, Wagga Wagga, on March 5.
The other finalists were Tom Boyle, Longreach, Qld; Jacinta Bradley, Tumbarumba, NSW; Courtney Cheers, Wagga Wagga, NSW, and Mitch Rubie, Forbes, NSW.
Now entering its ninth 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.
Murray Smith, of Harden, grew up on a small family farm, finished Year 12 in 2010 and now works with Merino and composite sheep, and cattle at Romani Pastoral Company.
He completed a stock and station traineeship working through Victoria, South Australia and the Northern Territory.
In 2014, Murray began work at a Poll Dorset stud at Coolac, NSW, helping with embryo transfer programs, artificial insemination, stud sales, breed selection and general sheep husbandry.
Murray intends to use his scholarship win to learn new skills and increase his knowledge of sheep and wool.
Brodie Carpenter hails from Swansea, Tasmania, and has been a full-time shearer for the past three years.
He has been inspired by his father, a farm manager and shearing contractor for 25 years.
Brodie leases a superfine Merino and prime lamb property, and has an ambition to operate the largest shearing contracting business in Tasmania.
More than 70 guests attended the Peter Westblade dinner to hear guest speaker, adventurer and entrepreneur John Elliot.
An auction on the night raised $14,280.