Livestock SA immediate past President Geoff Power’s long commitment to the South Australian and national wool industry was recognised tonight, being awarded an inaugural Australian Wool Industry Medal in Melbourne, held as part of the AWIS Wool Week 2017. Geoff was one of 11 industry stalwarts to receive a medal at the event.
Organised by the Federation of Australian Wool Organisations, the award was held to recognise people who had made an exceptional and sustained contribution in the Australian wool industry.
Livestock SA Chief Executive Officer Andrew Curtis said Geoff was a very deserving recipient and the award couldn’t be better timed, particularly as he has just stepped down from his leadership role in the organisation.
“We are very proud to see Geoff recognised nationally for his many years of services to the Australian and South Australian wool and livestock industry,” he said.
“He has been a very passionate advocate for the wool industry for many years and has worked tirelessly at all levels of the industry.
“Even though he lives more than 280 kilometres from Adelaide he is always ready to drive this distance, often having to then catch a plane to attend meetings interstate so that he can represent and advocate for issues that remain vital to ensuring a strong and vibrant wool industry.”
Despite growing up in inner city Melbourne, Geoff developed a passion for the Australian agricultural industry, finding employment in the industry and gaining experience across a wide range of areas, before eventually purchasing a wool-growing enterprise at Orroroo, in the Upper North of South Australia.
Together with his wife Val, Geoff continues to operate a self-replacing Merino sheep flock east of Orroroo. They also run another property near Jamestown where they produce grain and hay to value add to their sheep operation. They have been members of the Flinders Merino Group since it began in 2007, working together with other wool producers in their region to create and develop alternative wool marketing opportunities.
Geoff has been involved in wool industry advocacy since 2003. He believes strongly that it is important to be able to contribute to an industry that has given him so many opportunities, and allowed him to follow his dreams to not only work in the industry, but to purchase his own property and wool growing enterprise. He believes he needs to contribute back to an industry that has been good to his family.
He started formally with the SA Farmers Federation (SAFF), as both a member of the SAFF Livestock Committee (from 2003) and as a SAFF Board member (2007 to 2008). At the time SAFF disbanded in April 2013, Geoff was a member of the SAFF Livestock Committee.
As a member of SAFF Livestock Committee, Geoff represented SAFF on the Wool Producers Australia board, from 2004 to 2015 and was National President from 2013 to 2015. In this role, he was a Board member of both AWEX and AWTA.
When Livestock SA was established in May 2013, Geoff was a founding Board member before being appointed President in December 2014. He has been chair of the WoolTAG (SA Wool Training Advisory Group) Committee since 2013 working with SA industry representatives to proactively address industry issues, including looking at ways to attract and retain shearers and wool handlers and other wool harvesting training issues. In this role Geoff has been an integral part of rolling out the WoolTAG toolboxes, in partnership with TafeSA and other partners, to newly graduated shearers and woolhandlers, which has been a great success and helped to ensure young graduates get a helping start in the industry with the equipment they require.
Geoff has also been strongly involved in advocating for the control of wild dogs at a national, state and local level. He is currently Chair of the National Wild Dog Action Plan Implementation Stakeholder Consultative Committee as well as Chair of the SA Wild Dog Advisory Group. Wild dogs remain a huge threat to the wool industry, and Geoff has been a proactive and passionate advocate for many years on this issue.
Geoff has also been a member of the SA Sheep Advisory Group. The Group advises the SA Agriculture Minister on the operation of the Livestock Act 1997 and how it relates to property registration, industry codes of practice, vendor declarations and regulations for the sheep industry. The group also advises the Minister on the use of the Sheep Industry Fund.