Ambitious Amber and her awesome Alpacas

In 2010, when she was in high school Amber O’Neill wrote a blog post titled ‘Absolutely Awesome Agriculture and Alpacas’. In it she said: “I love studying agriculture, it’s so much fun and learning about topics like sustainability, alpacas and…

Ambitious Amber and her awesome Alpacas

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In 2010, when she was in high school Amber O’Neill wrote a blog post titled ‘Absolutely Awesome Agriculture and Alpacas’.

In it she said: “I love studying agriculture, it’s so much fun and learning about topics like sustainability, alpacas and sheep, is great! Of course I adore the animals! We learn to care for them and understand the responsibility we have to ensure they are happy and healthy. Each animal has their own personality and needs, just like humans.”

By 2011 Amber was considered to be a “young superstar” winning the Cream of the Crop Competition (an Art4Agriculture initiative) with her winning entry Are You the One, a tribute to her teachers at Cranebrook High School focusing on how education enhances an awareness of the contribution of Agriculture to us all.
Amber has ‘big picture’ thinking around the alpaca industry; she understands that both fleece and meat sales will drive demand and she accepts that. She’s eaten alpaca meat too and says it’s quite nice although she admitted that she couldn’t eat her own herd – not the ones with names anyway.

“At the end of year nine, I was invited to Warralinga Alpaca Stud to see all their alpacas, during the school holidays. It was the most amazing experience and at the end they offered me the opportunity to help every weekend. Since that day, I have worked with alpacas every week, training crias (baby alpacas) for the show, cleaning paddocks and feeding all seventy mouths.” Amber said.

“I’ve attended all the regional shows and even attended national shows. I’ve been able to show top quality alpacas, winning champions and reserves, many first places and having the best time ever. At the Hawkesbury Show and the Australian National Show I won first place for alpaca junior judging (where I judge alpacas on their fleece and conformation).

“These were the best experiences, learning so much about the alpaca industry and its future. I have also participated in handling, showmanship and performance competitions, where I am judged on my ability to handle alpacas, winning first and second place at several shows.”

Amber’s thirst for knowledge extends beyond her own experiences at high school, on work experience and in her work environment to include her love of mentoring youth.

“Last year I started my own alpaca stud, called Alkira,” she said. “I bought a white female and have agisted her at Warralinga. I showed her at Castle Hill Show and she received a Reserve Champion, and a very happy owner. I love her to pieces, and she has proven to me that agriculture is definitely the industry I want to spend my life working in.”

This year Amber presented at the Australian Alpaca Youth Group (AAYG) third annual youth camp at the South Coast Cambewarra property of Coolawarra Alpacas.

It’s clear from her attitude that we haven’t heard the last from this young woman. She’s ambitious, driven and focused, three great attributes for Australia’s future farmers.

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