[ASC-media] Media release: leader for 'sheep revolution'

JCA Media jca.media at starclass.com.au
Thu Apr 12 02:52:52 CEST 2007

CRC for Sheep Industry Innovation Media Release

April 12, 2007-for immediate release


The man chosen to guide the coming revolution in productivity and quality in the Australian sheep industry was today named as John Keniry, the well-known agribusiness identify, company director and primary producer.

Dr Keniry has been appointed as Chairman of the Board of the $110 million Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation-which replaces the existing Australian Sheep Industry CRC.
Under the new CRC, 5000 ewes in 'information flocks' across Australia and 20,000 sheep genes in special arrays will become the launch-pad for what the new CRC's researchers say will be the biggest and fastest leap in sheep value and quality yet.

Scientists from the new CRC will comb the national sheep flock to find the genes and identify breeding values for:
"	easy-care sheep, with high lamb survival rates and good welfare characteristics
"	a wool fleece designer-bred for luxurious wearer-comfort
"	pure-white wool, for textile end-use versatility
"	meat that is perfectly specified for the healthiness, nutrition, flavour, aroma and tenderness demand by today's discerning consumer. 
These new genetic tools will provide stud breeders and commercial breeders with the means to achieve their chosen breeding objectives much faster and more accurately.

"As a woolgrower myself, I'm delighted at the opportunity to get close to the cutting edge of where the industry is going," John Keniry says.

"Productivity in sheep has lagged behind other livestock industries for some time, and no industry can survive unless it can raise productivity.  The new CRC builds on the successful work of the existing CRC and offers a real chance to accelerate these gains.

"As a grower the research that particularly appeals to me is easy-care. While sheep are very flexible, they're also labour intensive and have tended to lose out to other farm industries of late.  The CRC for Sheep Industry Innovation is directly addressing this."

Dr Keniry believes that wool's greatest assets in the fibre wars to come are its attributes as a natural fibre: "Wool is in the niche quality apparel business-and my focus will be on keeping it there, rather than going head-to-head with every new synthetic."   

Dr Keniry has served as chairman or director of numerous agribusiness and mining ventures in Australia and New Zealand, and on the boards of government organisations at state and federal level. He was instrumental in developing Ridley Corporation into Australia's largest stockfeed enterprise and in its taking an influential stake in the North American feed market. 

He is close to the wool industry as a grower and through his chairmanship of the Wool Poll Panel since 2000. He has a background in meat production research through roles on the Pig R&D Corporation and as Chairman of the Pork CRC. He also chaired the CRC for International Food Manufacture & Packaging Science.

Dr Keniry says he is reducing his commitment to other boards to focus on his new task of helping to revolutionise the sheep industry through the CRC for Sheep Industry Innovation, and also to spend more time running his own sheep and cattle enterprise in NSW.

The CEO of the Sheep CRC, Professor James Rowe, said the team and partners were delighted to have a Chairman with the experience, breadth and wisdom of John Keniry at the helm of the new CRC.

"He brings a depth of insight into the livestock, food and fibre industries which will guide us in delivering the next generation of advanced technologies to sheep producers and breeders," he said.

The new CRC will build on precision sheep production systems developed in the current Sheep CRC. The combination of these with new technologies is expected to yield rapid gains in productivity, lean meat yield, next-to-skin comfort for wool, and many 'difficult to measure' characteristics of sheep products.

The new CRC has 20 partners including the peak industry bodies, all state departments of primary industries, three prominent sheep industry consulting companies, feed and technology companies, two universities, Australian Meat Processor Corporation and the industry research companies Australian Wool Innovation and Meat and Livestock Australia.

More information:
John Keniry, Chairman, CRC for Sheep Industry Innovation, 0428 672 694
James Rowe, CEO, CRC for Sheep Industry Innovation, ph 02 6776 1465 or 0418 810 130; james.rowe at csiro.au 
Deb Maxwell, Sheep CRC, 02 6773 3597 or 0407 376 463
deborah.maxwell at une.edu.au

Web: http://www.sheepcrc.org.au/ 

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