Yass local Ben Patrick has won the 2014 Peter Westblade Sheep and Wool Industry Scholarship.
Patrick, who works as the livestock manager at Yarrawonga Merino Stud, Harden, and runs his own stud, Woollahra Merinos at Yass, was chosen from 30 other applicants for the scholarship.
Patrick attended a conference dinner in Temora last week, where he edged out fellow finalists - Yanco Agricultural High School teacher Ellie Quinn and Junee livestock overseer Elise Walker. Now in its third year, the scholarship provides cash and in-kind support worth up to $10,000 over a 12-month period.
Mr Patrick will also benefit from practical skills training, mentoring and the establishment of industry networks.
MerinoLink CEO Sally Martin told the Tribune the standard of applicant was very high.
"It was a very difficult decision, they were all wonderful candidates."
"As the scholarship evolves we want to help more than just one person, which is why this year, the two runners-up will also get assistance throughout the year.
"There was not one obvious thing that separated Ben from the other two, but his practical application and vision with what he wants to do, made him a very worthy recipient."
Patrick runs 150 stud and 300 flock ewes based on Grassy Creek and Avonsworth bloodlines, averaging 17.5 micron and with average fleece weights of 5kg.
"I established the stud when I was 19 and sell 25-30 rams a year privately - I aim to breed as many commercially viable sheep as possible," he said.