MORE than 60 students from 10 schools, colleges, universities and TAFEs across Australia met for the National Merino Challenge in Dubbo recently, with one young Bombala participant shining amongst tough competition.
In fact, Veronica Hartmeier of the Bombala High School was named a Top Performer in one section of the challenge, and took second place in another; impressive achievements indeed!
The National Merino Challenge involves presentations and demonstrations from industry professionals to allow young people to develop their industry knowledge, skills and networks.
Students participated in seven 'mini-challenges' across two days, testing their knowledge of Merino fleece, production and breeding and selection.
The mini challenges included AWEX Typing, Wool Valuing, Visual Score Assessment, Condition Scoring, Calculate Ewe Nutrition & Feed Budget, Ewe Selection and Ram Selection.
Three students from the Bombala High School – Vernonica herself, Andrew Platts and Matthew Towns - took part after preparatory work at school, and some guidance from Drew Chapman at the recent Hinesville Field Day.
The students developed their skills and competed in the challenges over the two days in Dubbo, with a focus being on giving practical insight into the tools available to growers to make more informed decisions.
Competition was fierce across the secondary divisions in which the Bombala students took part, with Veronica being named the Top Performer in the Wool Section as well as taking second place in the overall secondary school challenge.
Naturally Veronica herself and her fellow participants and support team from Bombala were thrilled with her success, and she picked up a sash, prizes and $300 in prize money.
“Well done, Veroncia!” said her Ag and Primary Industries teacher, Max Stewart in last week’s school newsletter.
“Importantly all our students viewed the competition as a learning experience and were pleased that they had participated in the event.
“Congratulations to Andrew, Matthew and of course Veronica for accepting the challenge, conducting themselves admirably and making us proud of you.”
A highlight of the program was the National Merino Challenge Industry Dinner, held on the Saturday night at Macdonald & Co Woolbrokers and attended by more than 130 people.
Adding to the atmosphere of holding a Merino industry dinner in a wool store, there was excitement in the air as the participants had the chance to meet woolgrowers, woolbrokers and researchers.