Bursary support helps Luke build business

Spirit of Excellence awards help Luke Ramsay to grow precision livestock business

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SUPPORT HANDY: Luke Ramsay, Kimba, has been learning from interstate precision livestock experts and is keen to put that learning into action in SA.

SUPPORT HANDY: Luke Ramsay, Kimba, has been learning from interstate precision livestock experts and is keen to put that learning into action in SA.

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A GOAL to help sheep producers benefit from available technology has been aided by the contacts and support Luke Ramsay, Kimba, received through the Spirit of Excellence awards.

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A GOAL to help sheep producers benefit from available technology has been aided by the contacts and support Luke Ramsay, Kimba, received through the Spirit of Excellence awards.

The 2018 Rural Youth Bursary recipient was awarded $5000 last year through the Agriculture Bureau's program, while on the same night, Ruth Sommerville, Spalding, won the Sustainable Agriculture Scholarship.

Applications for the 2019 awards close Monday, September 16.

Mr Ramsay said he has covered a lot of ground in the past 12 months, driven by the support from his bursary.

"The money was fantastic to fund my trip and business aspirations, but the support and the contacts I have gained through the bursary have been invaluable," he said.

"My whole trip revolved around going with people I had never met before that had been recommended to me by someone I met once on the night of the (awards)."

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In the past year, Mr Ramsay has been working towards his goal of own data management business to help farmers with recording and managing their sheep flocks with objective measurements.

This involved a trip to two-week trip to NSW, where he met with several businesses and producers in the same field.

"I was able to see the whole cycle of data collecting and analysing and the results of 40 years worth of data," he said.

"On top of this I was immersed in the benchmarking with wether trials, which are rather scarce in SA.

"These were great, with everything recorded visually and objective measurements taken too.

"Seeing 40 various bloodlines put to the test in the same conditions with averages varying up to $80 a sheep was massive."

He plans to put some of the ideas he gained on this trip to work, from new ways to record fleece weight, through to potentially setting up a local wether trial.

He said in recent months his website has gone live, along with case studies that show "solid evidence of the benefits of recording profit driving traits".

He has also had some inquiry into personal data management.

"This will be the ultimate outcome for me, being able to help farmers through their transition into the collation and interpretation of profit driving data in their flock," he said.

He says there in plenty of interest in the space of precision agriculture for livestock, although there is some caution caused by potential costs for equipment.

"This is where I see the opportunity to be able to lend the gear and assist in use," he said.

"In general the farms of scale would be happy to invest but there is limited 'on ground' tech support, which is where I see another area of opportunity."

Mr Ramsey said the bursary was a big motivator in helping him get where he is.

"(Without the bursary), I reckon I'd still be pondering the idea of starting my business, going to NSW to up skill and develop myself," he said.

"Without the support, contacts and the money, all I have achieved so far would have been very difficult."

He urges other people with ideas to step up and put themselves forward.

"I feel like my project has taken a few turns and I have pursued areas I didn't know existed prior to receiving the bursary," he said.

"The submission process is extremely easy and the Ag Bureau is very proactive in making the process as painless as possible.

"I feel like as long as your project ticks the box of benefiting agriculture and the community, also if you have the passion to push the project, applying is a no-brainer."

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