Meet Katie Barnett – a young woman excited about a future in wool

The Australia Wool Innovation Cultivate- Growing Young Leaders scholarship invites young people in the Australian wool industry to nominate to learn how to become confident ambassadors and trusted voices.

The program identifies and supports young agricultural professionals and equips them with the skills to:

  • Connect and collaborate with the next generation of consumers and multiply their impact
  • Advocate for, and drive change in, the Australian agricultural sector.

They then become the face of our in-school programs and role models for who you can be in agriculture.

It gives us great pleasure to share with you the stories of our 2021 finalists

 Meet Katie Barnett 

My name is Katie Barnett. I am 21 years old and from Kempsey, on the Mid North Coast of NSW. In 2019, I ventured to Armidale, NSW to complete a double degree, a Bachelor of Agriculture/Bachelor of Business at the University of New England. I am currently in my fourth and final year. I sit on multiple committees such as ASC of NSW Next Generation, Kempsey Show Society and UNE’s RSUS. In addition, I work on two properties, Kyabra Station and Taylors Run part-time and am just about to start another job at Precision Pastures. I have a small share in a mob of cross-bred ewes and have an enormous interest in women and youth in Agriculture, community involvement and the sustainability and resilience of the Australian sheep and wool industry.



How did I get here? I didn’t grow up on a property and I didn’t have family close by with a property for me to go to. I come from a rural town and went to a mainstream Public School.

Attending the Kempsey Anzac Day March with my fellow Kempsey High School Captain Dion Thompson-Stewart

I’ve always had a passion and ambition to become involved in Agriculture, so I took every opportunity that came my way. It doesn’t matter what your background is, your age or even your gender. If you try hard and keep persevering, you’ll achieve your goals. If I can make it so, can you!

Me and my kelpie Liz

I have been involved in many areas of the Agriculture Industry. I have worked with dairy cattle, pigs, beef cattle on smaller scale and beef cattle on a larger scale (cattle station in QLD) and harvested crops to name just a few.  The sheep and wool industries are my favourite.

Its vaccination time on the farm

I love the diversity, the endless opportunities, the innovation, the technology, and the science.

I am proud to be part of an industry where sheep turn grass, water and sunshine into wool – a natural fibre that will last for years and years in your wardrobe, needs less washing, is fire resistant, breathable, recyclable and biodegrable and does not contribute to microplastic pollution

I am particularly interested in supporting producers to continue to deliver sustainable, ethically produced wool.

  • Understanding what are our buyers looking for?
  • What are the main challenges we face as an industry?
  • How do we remain competitive in a world where we compete with many other products such as synthetic fibres?

When we have healthy soils and pastures we can optimise the animal health and welfare outcome for sheep as well as increase the amount and quality of wool they produce. Animals in farming systems can reduce the need for input such as fertilisers and by implementing rotational grazing techniques ensures that grass is trimmed regularly, allowing it to regrow, store more carbon in its roots and support biodiversity in and above the soil.

Trees are an integral part of the farming system, providing shade for livestock, capturing carbon and shelter for native animals 

I believe that I have a great future ahead of me in the sheep and wool Industry and I encourage everyone to have a go. You never know what lies ahead.