Fifth-generation stud breeder Kayla Starkey from Mount Pleasant cannot remember a time when sheep were not a huge part of her life.
"I went to my first (Royal) Adelaide Show when I was seven-months old and I haven't missed one since," she said.
"I have grown up around a lot of stud breeders and learnt a lot from them."
The 26-year-old is proud to be the custodian - along with her father Lyall - of one of the nation's oldest Merino studs, Hill View.
Her great great grandfather Edward started breeding Merinos in 1891 and first registered the stud in 1923 at Mount Pleasant and Sanderston.
In 1982, Lyall, who was looking for a sheep that could stand up to their 650 millimetre rainfall, started the Bel-Antha Polwarth stud and turned his attention to that.
Lyall's brother Graham continued the Hill View stud but when he wanted to retire in 2012, he offered the stud back to Ms Starkey and her father which they jumped at.
"There is huge historical value behind it - our family have been breeding sheep in this area for over a century so we wanted to keep it going," she said.
The Hill View stud comprises 100 Merino ewes and the Bel-Antha flock has 200 stud Polwarth ewes, which the Starkeys run alongside a commercial Polwarth flock.
"We are looking for a dual-purpose animal that has a bright white crimpy fibre that can withstand our higher rainfall area and has a great carcase on it," she said.
Ms Starkey has already proven she has a good eye for sheep. In 2015 she won the state final of the Merino Sheep Young Judges competition.
"It was definitely a highlight for me representing SA ," she said.
Since then she has judged at many country shows. Next month she will step up to judge the Polwarths at the Australian Sheep & Wool Show at Bendigo, Vic.
Ms Starkey hopes her enthusiasm will rub off onto her students at Murray Bridge High School where she is in her first year as an ag teacher.
"I always knew that the farm wouldn't be able to support two incomes, I looked down a few avenues but when I got into high school and started doing ag I realised there weren't many ag teachers that came from the country," she said.
"So many people don't understand where their food and fibre comes from, it is so important that we get that passion for agriculture into people at a young age."
Back on the farm, Ms Starkey has plans to continue the two studs and continue selling rams privately to their loyal clients and building on this further.
"It will be really exciting to see where the sheep industry goes in five or 10 years time with where demand is and all the research being done," she said.
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