Renowned Victorian Saxon breeders, the Crawford family of Sierra Park, Victoria Valley, has been crowned the prestigious 2018 Wool Excellence title, awarded by Vitale Barberis Canonico.
The Crawfords were ecstatic to receive the honour which was announced on Sunday at the Calyx, located in the heart of Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens, in front of more than 30 Wool Excellence Club members from NSW, Victoria and Tasmania.
Sierra Park’s 2018 winning clip was praised for it’s thick, dense, resilient and sound staple with a tight but defined crimp.
Operated by two generations of the Crawford family, Bill and Jenny Crawford and their son Will, together with his wife Prue, Sierra Park is about 2430 hectares and runs 15,000 sheep.
VBC raw procurement manager Davide Fontaneto congratulated the Crawford family for their unwavering dedication to producing the highest quality Saxon merino wool for nearly 150 years, which exhibit bulky, high compression wools that perform well in the finished garment.
“This year we identified someone within the club with a long history, someone who could be considered as one of the leaders in Saxon Merino production,” Mr Fontaneto said.
“The Crawford’s utilise the lessons and skills from their past while looking forward to the future. They have maintained their Saxon breeding and they are committed to WEC’s aims.
“The wool from Sierra Park displays the model characteristics of the Saxon wool which is so valuable and sought after by VBC.”
He said the genetics, management and dedication by the Crawford family had elevated Sierra Park to a well-deserved winner.
Principal Bill Crawford said the award recognised traditional breeding, which allowed the family to continue breeding Saxon-style sheep.
Mr Crawford, together with Jenny, Will and Prue Crawford, received a cash prize to the value of $50,000 along with an all-expenses paid trip to Italy to meet with VBC representatives in the Biella region of Italy.
“We are currently running a mixed enterprise, with a small portion of crossbred lambs bred for meat production and cropping for feed grain and canola,” he said.
“Will has been a vital member of the Sierra Park team for the last 13 years, with his wife Prue joining us a year ago.
“Thankfully we all work together cohesively, this serving us well for the future.”
Members are specially selected by VBC using strict criteria and must be accredited under the SustainaWOOL Integrity Scheme.
“We are now a club with more than 30 members. We have improved quantities and quality,” Mr Fontaneto said.
“We have succeeded in following and advancing our ideas, in producing great wool that in our hearts is the same word as passion. We are a strong group of people looking forward to the future.”