THE explosion in interest for the Young Stud Masters’ Muster event at the Australian Sheep and Wool Show is an indication of just how powerful networking can be.
It’s been the starting point for career opportunities, industry banter and new relationships, and is why attendance has double to 160 people since the event was founded just three years ago.
The Muster is a casual networking event which celebrates the next generation of ag leaders with the Young Champions Award – sponsored by the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria.
“We work in an industry where the tyranny of distance is constantly there,” Australian Sheep Breeders Association junior vice-president and committee member Dan Korff said.
It was for this reason a group of passionate people established the Muster in 2012 – which shakes off the tweed coat for a casual beer with colleagues.
“Young people can often feel isolated in this industry,” Mr Korff said.
“We are working for the same goal but we can often forget that when isolated on the property or in your workplace.
“The Young Stud Masters’ Muster is important in terms of strengthening industry ties and building confidence and knowledge because we are not out there alone – we are working together, even though we are not together.”
While the casual setting of the Muster makes socialising easy, it also tackles some of the bigger industry questions through guest speakers. In the past business development, succession and professional development have been discussed.
Mr Korff said the event wasn’t exclusive to young people, with all ages welcome to attend.
“There are more and more from the older generation coming along because of the valuable knowledge sharing – as industry, we haven’t captured that intergenerational knowledge exchange but this is a good start,” he said.
“There have been great relationships developed out of the Muster, with school and university students gaining work placement and longstanding relationships between woolgrowers and agents established.”
The RASV Young Champions Award recognises young people doing outstanding things in the industry.
Committee member Anna Toland, Toland Merino, Violet Town, said it was important to celebrate colleagues who work autonomously.
This year there are eight nominees from Western Australia, South Australia, NSW, Victoria and Tasmania vying for the champion title.
“It pulls back the notion that farmers are dominated by the older generation,” Ms Toland said.
“We care about our industry’s future, we are embracing diversification and showcasing the next generation of enthusiastic leaders.”
The Young Stud Masters’ Muster in at 7pm on Friday, July 15 at the Prince of Wales showgrounds.
Ticket are $25 and can be bought online at sheepshow.com.