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SCA award recognises young sheepmeat industry ambassadors at LambEx

James Corcoran, Galong, NSW, and Ben Munzberg, Birchip, Victoria, have been named as 2016 Sheepmeat Industry Ambassadors – a joint Sheepmeat Council of Australia and Meat and Livestock Australia award recognising young leaders.

The award involves a study tour from 7-19 August 2016 as part of the Tri-Lamb Agreement between Australia, the United States and New Zealand. The study tour of Australia and New Zealand includes ambassadors from the US and NZ and departed Canberra on Monday. There is also a range of other opportunities and professional development as part of the program.

James and Ben will participate in the TriLamb Group Young Leaders Program in 2016 and 2017 and will be mentored by 2014 SCA Ambassador Jamie Heinrich and SCA President Jeff Murray.

Mr Murray said both winners were worthy recipients because of the leadership qualities they displayed and their commitment to improving the sheepmeat industry.

“The Sheepmeat Industry Ambassador Award recognises outstanding young sheep producers and their potential as industry leaders and both Ben and James were incredibly passionate about the sheepmeat industry and displayed maturity beyond their years in articulating a vision for its future,” he said.

James, 27, from Gooramma Poll Dorsets at Galong, NSW, says the award is a great opportunity to gain knowledge and further build on the networks with producers in the United States and New Zealand.

“I am really passionate about the prime lamb industry and being around other like-minded people as part of the Tri-Lamb study tour is great,” he said.

“The Sheepmeat Council has pulled together a really good group of people and there are many opportunities for youth to get involved with leadership. It’s not often you get two weeks of the best learning opportunities where you can see different aspects of the supply chain.”

Ben, 22, Birchip, says the award is a fantastic opportunity to be able to visit different farms and operations and talk to people from the US and NZ.

“It’s a great insight into their industries and how they operate. We’ve all got the same target of increasing lamb consumption and increasing productivity,” he said.

“The Sheepmeat Council is an important organisation for producers. SCA members are great promoters of the industry and we need them to be working with us and sharing information.”

Following completion of a Bachelor of Veterinary Bioscience, James took up a role as market operations officer with AuctionsPlus, liaising with buyers, agents and producers. He then worked as a project officer with the National Meat Industry Training and Advisory Council where he provided research, training development and advisory services to the red meat, pork and game industries.

In 2015 James decided to return to the family property where is now involved in the day to day operations of Gooramma Poll Dorsets and manager of the commercial sheep operation. He is developing branding and marketing initiatives to further promote the stud.

Ben studied a Bachelor of Agricultural Science at University of Adelaide. After completing his study, Ben was employed as technical officer – lamb production with the Victorian Department of Agriculture, providing technical support to research projects focusing on improving the productivity and profitability of lamb producers in the high rainfall zone.

Ben then decided his main interest was in farm management and is now employed by a large family farming business in northern Victoria, running a 10,500-head Merino and first-cross ewe enterprise alongside a considerable cropping enterprise consisting of cereals, canola and pulses.

As part of their submission, applicants were required to submit a YouTube clip outlining their vision for the sheepmeat industry.

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