Queensland’s Jack Banks has taken out the title of 2011 Wool Producer of the Year.

Sponsored by Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), the Wool Producer of the Year Award was announced in Sydney on Wednesday, September 7, as part of Kondinin Group and ABC’s Rural’s Australian Farmer of the Year Awards.

Jack Banks describes shearing as the high point of the year, the culmination of 12 months of doing all the little things right to maximise production on his 40,000ha Western Queensland property.

Producing quality 20-micron wool is one challenge for Jack. The other is finding smarter ways to protect his flock from a worsening wild dog problem that is plaguing producers and communities around Australia – which he is doing right down to satellite tracking.

Land management will always be a challenge at Jack’s property Springleigh. The extreme drought years of 2002 to 2004 placed huge stress on his native pastures. Since then he has progressively endeavoured to reduce this problem.

A key step to distribute grazing pressure more evenly has seen the installation of 35km of poly pipe, taking water to 17 new watering points, Jack has also implemented a rotation grazing strategy which has resulted in improvements to ground cover.

AWI’s head of On-farm RD&E, Jane Littlejohn, said Jack Banks shows commitment and innovation to the Australian wool industry.

“Jack’s is a very innovating grower, using a range of tools from ASBV’s to WoolCheque to get the most out of this Merino enterprise," Ms Littlejohn said.

“But what really impressed the judges was Jacks support and mentoring for young people in the industry. Jack is actively involved in passing on his skills and knowledge to the next generation, with links to AWI’s extension networks, local grower groups and universities."

The national Australian Farmer of the Year Awards, hosted by Kondinin Group and ABC Rural, are designed to promote a positive image of farmers, inspire and encourage career choices and investment interest in Australian agriculture.

Media Contacts:
Verity Todd
M: 0429 993 027
E: verity.todd@kondinin.com.au

Amber Atkinson
M: 0405 448 582
E: amber.atkinson@kondinin.com.au