Innovation rules at MerinoLink conference in Goulburn

Elise Bowen, of Wagga, will be one of the Hour of Power speakers along with Rachael Gawne, of Young, outlining her experience with the Peter Westblade Scholarship.
Elise Bowen, of Wagga, will be one of the Hour of Power speakers along with Rachael Gawne, of Young, outlining her experience with the Peter Westblade Scholarship.

Young scholars and innovators in the sheep and wool industry will have an opportunity to present their latest research at the ‘Hour of Power’’ during the MerinoLink annual conference.

The “Hour of Power” will be a fast-paced, informative session presented by a range of researchers, scholars and innovators, aged 18 to 30 years, from across Australia.

The MerinoLink conference will be held on June 20 at the Mercure Hotel, Goulburn.

MerinoLink chief executive officer Sally Martin said university students and graduates would have the opportunity to present their research project and findings directly to industry members.

“Hour of Power will also include young innovators making an impact in the industry, sharing their experiences and highlighting how they are making a difference,’’ Ms Martin said.

“It will allow young people interested in the sheep and wool industry to network with members from varying levels of the industry.

“Hour of Power also showcases MerinoLink as a facilitator of education and networking opportunities for its members.’’

Ms Martin said Hour of Power would identify research areas relevant to conference delegates, and provide dialogue opportunities to progress the ideas.

The nine participants from NSW and South Australia will have a presentation of three to five minutes each, and be paired for the day with industry mentors.

MerinoLink chairman Richard Keniry, Cumnock, said the Hour of Power session was focused on giving young people an opportunity to attend the annual conference.

“The idea was not just to showcase the research done by young people but their ability to network and encourage more of their peers to be involved in agriculture,’’ he said.

“We aim to engage with networks within the sheep industry that will drive production now and for years to come.

“What we are doing now in research will have a bigger impact in 10 years time – we are living off what was done 10-15 years ago and making productivity gains now.

“It is critical for us to be investing in research now for the next generation.’’

Among the young presenters is Elise Bowen, of Sheep Data Management, Wagga.

Miss Bowen is completing her PhD through Murdoch University, WA, on lamb survival and early embryo loss in maiden ewes.

She will outline the acceleration of genetic gain through the use of genetic technologies, including breeding values, artificial insemination, genomics and MateSel.

Miss Bowen will present a case study on a stud aiming to fast track genetic gain using artificial insemination with industry-leading sires for performance, MateSel to allocate ewes to rams, and genomics to identify young sires with eating quality traits.

“We wanted to showcase keen young people who are doing something positive for the sheep industry, and pair them with mentors to help them network and find opportunities during the conference,’’ Ms Martin said.

“Last year we had the winners of the AWI eChallenge present at the MerinoLink field day, and as a result, they gained 20 contacts, enabling them to ground truth their work.

“MerinoLink is actively promoting the sheep and wool industry as a desirable career path and provides an environment for youth to learn and grow in the industry.’’

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