By ROSS McGAUCHIE Pres­i­dent Aus­tralian Sheep Breed­ers As­so­ci­a­tion

North East & Goulburn Murray Farmer - - FRONT PAGE -

IT’S time once again for the greatest sheep show on earth - and that’s re­ally no ex­ag­ger­a­tion.

As the big­gest event of its kind in the world, the Aus­tralian Sheep and Wool Show is first and fore­most about the very best an­i­mal ge­net­ics, and how this trans­lates to myr­iad by-prod­ucts, from cat­walk to table.

The hall­mark of this, the 141st show, is imag­i­na­tion, in­spi­ra­tion and in­no­va­tion - ev­i­dent across ev­ery shed and mar­quee.

You’ll find it in the Ca­reers and Tech­nol­ogy Hub where as­pir­ing young agri­cul­tur­al­ists can, for ex­am­ple, try their hand at shear­ing a vir­tual sheep or drove a vir­tual mob thanks to cut­ting-edge aug­mented re­al­ity tech­nol­ogy.

It’s in­trin­sic in the new sea­son Sportscraft and SABA de­signs be­ing pa­raded in the Women of Wool fash­ion show, in the warp and weft of Wool­craft and the ar­ray of won­der­ful dishes cre­ated for the Fes­ti­val of Lamb.

It’s there in the ge­net­ics of the iconic kelpie yard dogs, the su­perfine mi­cron fi­bres of the Aus­tralian Fleece Com­pe­ti­tion and in the very heart of the young shearer hop­ing to get around the old gun in the Sports Shear Vic­to­ria state fi­nals.

The Aus­tralian Sheep and Wool Show is both a won­der­ful re­flec­tion of the dili­gence and drive of mem­bers across our in­dus­try and its con­tri­bu­tion to the econ­omy.

Where most shows around the coun­try are get­ting smaller and strug­gling harder, we are growing - es­pe­cially since com­ing out of Mel­bourne 18 years ago.

In the past 10 years there have been $8 mil­lion worth of sheds built on Bendigo’s Prince of Wales Show­grounds - and still we need more for the sheep show to con­tinue as the epi­cen­tre of ge­netic ex­cel­lence and na­tional show­case for the en­tire sup­ply chain from farm gate to the value-added.

It is im­por­tant that, as or­gan­is­ers, we too in­no­vate.

This year, as part of the drive to boost the con­sump­tion of lamb, the tra­di­tional Breed­ers Din­ner will be com- bined in a gala event pre­sented by Fair­fax Agri­cul­tural Me­dia, and Meat and Live­stock Aus­tralia.

The Wool­worths Lam­bi­tion project aims to put the tra­di­tional pro­tein back on the top of the fam­ily menu and will ex­plore how pro­duc­ers can play a greater part in its pro­mo­tion.

This is just one ex­am­ple of how part­ner­ships can help drive more busi­ness.

It is im­por­tant that we ac­knowl­edge how vi­tal sup­port­ers have been in the con­tin­ued success of the sheep show.

All play a part, from Ro­tary - which is this year han­dling our oc­cu­pa­tional health and safety com­pli­ance – to Ei­lan Do­nan Merino spon­sor­ing the novice yard dog event, to or­gan­i­sa­tions like Ru­ral Bank which is lend­ing us its charis­matic man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Alexan­dra Gart­mann to MC the Women of Wool lun­cheon.

We know the show makes a direct con­tri­bu­tion of more than $5 mil­lion to the lo­cal econ­omy, draw­ing in ex­cess of 30,000 vis­i­tors to the Bendigo Show­grounds over three days, but just as im­por­tantly the Greater Bendigo Coun­cil has as­sisted and made us wel­come in ev­ery way.

Other ma­jor spon­sor­ship part­ners in­clud­ing Stock & Land, AWTA, Land­mark, El­ders, RASV, AWI, WFI, O’Sul­li­vans Trans­port, MLA and Agri­cul­ture Vic­to­ria also have our thanks.

Time once said Aus­tralia was to ride on the sheep’s back; these days, the ASBA has got good friends to help more evenly dis­trib­ute the weight and we are, as ever, grate­ful to our ded­i­cated vol­un­teers.

En­joy the show.

WEL­COME: Ross McGauchie, pres­i­dent of the Aus­tralian Sheep Breed­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, wants as many as pos­si­ble to come along to this year’s Sheep and Wool Show.

TALK IT OUT: This month’s Aus­tralian Sheep and Wool Show prom­ises lots of in­dus­try in­sights, catch up op­por­tu­ni­ties and live dis­plays.

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