Bordertown Merino breeder Richard Halliday says it has been a privilege to give back to an industry that has been such a big part of his life since he left school at 16 years of age to go shearing and farming.
Late last year he was presented with an Australian Wool Industry Medal for his four decades of industry representation.
This included serving as inaugural Livestock SA president and eight years on WoolProducers, including four years as president, as well as being a member of the SA Sheep Advisory Group for seven years.
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Mr Halliday said he was humbled to receive the award and could not have done it without his wife Jacquie and children Sarah, Angus and Thomas who stepped up to enable him to spend many days off-farm.
"You don't go into things seeking personal accolades you get involved to hopefully make the industry a better place for everyone- hopefully I have done that," he said.
"I have always been a big believer that you don't stand outside the tent and throw rocks, you get inside the tent and make things better for everyone."
In the early 1990s Mr Halliday - who runs the Callowie Poll Merino stud with his family- became involved with the South East Merino Breeders group as secretary for three years and then had a term as president.
He credits participating in the inaugural Breeding Leadership course run by the SA Stud Merino Breeders Association- which is still held annually- to gaining the confidence to take on more leadership roles.
I have always been a big believer that you don't stand outside the tent and throw rocks, you get inside the tent and make things better for everyone.
He joined South Australian Farmers Federation in 2010 and became the SA representative on WoolProducers in 2011.
When Livestock SA was formed in 2013 he led the organisation for 18 months until he was elected WoolProducers president in 2014.
WoolProducers chief executive officer Jo Hall says when Mr Halliday was elected to lead the organisation there were "some internal issues that need to be resolved" but he successfully got WoolProducers back on track.
Among the major policies tackled during his presidency included developing the Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines, the way forward for Ovine Johnes Disease management, as well as discussing structural reform during the Ernest Young review into Australian Wool Innovation.
"A key feature of Richard's presidency of WoolProducers was his continued push to try and collaborate with industry stakeholders in an attempt to unify the industry, which was a thankless task a lot of the time," Ms Hall said.
"WoolProducers is so pleased Richard's dedication and passion for the wool industry has been recognised given his enormous personal contribution and commitment to working in the interests of all woolgrowers."
Mr Halliday says in his decision making at meetings he always considered whether it would 'pass the pub test' with the majority of growers he was representing and made sure the whole of the board was part of that decision making.
"I always thought , could I take it to a grower and would they be happy with what is happening?" he said.
Mr Halliday says he has immensely enjoyed meeting woolgrowers from across Australia as well as other wool growing nations, travelling to IWTO conferences in England, Hong Kong and China.
His only regret was not being able to have his "feet under the table" for longer as Livestock SA president but says he is proud of where the group evolved to during his time on the board.
Since stepping down from Livestock SA in 2019 he has been using his leadership skills in his local community serving on the Bordertown & Districts Health Advisory Council.
"I believe you should get in and get your ideas done but then get out and then let someone else have a go," he said.
In 2020 while the wool market came off some sensational highs Mr Halliday says there were some positive signs with some resistance to big falls, as well as exceptional prices for sheep and lambs.
"Any of us growing and selling a commodity could never have predicted the impact of a pandemic but the last sale before the recess wool was still making about $1700 a bale which if you know your cost of production and manage your costs it's an exciting industry to be involved in," he said.
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