In 1987 The NSW Stud Merino Breeders' Association Limited Trust was established with a target of $200,000 and a minimum of $100,000 – interest thereon to provide funds for research. The Council of the NSW SMBA controls this fund and contributed $30,000 on establishment.
Over the years members have provided tax-deductible contributions and, together with interest on investments, the Trust has now reached a capital size where recurring income earned each year is likely to be capable of funding larger research expenditures for the benefit of the Merino industry.
Tax-Deductible Donations and Applications for Research Funding can be made to –
The NSW SMBA Trust
c/- The Australian Merino Centre
Locked Bag 4317
Sydney Olympic Park NSW 2127
Current Trustees are Mr James Derrick, NSW SMBA President, along with Messrs W Armstrong, W J Ferguson and S D Beveridge OAM.
The objectives of the Trust Deed were reviewed in 2004 with a view to broadening its charter to support educational initiatives in the Merino industry, and any other directions that may be relevant and may qualify for funding whilst adhering to the terms of the Trust Deed. This decision acknowledges the change in circumstances within the industry where funding opportunities are now available from many other sources.
While some projects that received Trust funding have not come to fruition, the following have resulted in benefits to the Merino industry:
FOOTROT: Funds were provided in 1991 to the University of Sydney for work on management of low virulence footrot and to the Elizabeth Macarthur Institute for development of a blood test to be used to eradicate footrot. In 1992 the University of Sydney was again funded to investigate low-virulent strains of footrot, and again in 1993 for work on field investigations of low-virulent strains of footrot. Total Trust Funds of $42,400 were expended and in August 2009, NSW was officially declared a Footrot Protected Area.
BIOLOGICAL WOOL HARVESTING OF RAMS: In 1994, CSIRO was funded $14,805 in the early stages of studying biological wool harvesting of rams.
JOHNE'S DISEASE IN SHEEP: From 1995-97, the University of Sydney was funded $30,000 for research into Johne's disease in sheep, and in 2000 trials were funded with $3,000 to ascertain the effectiveness of vaccination in the control of OJD.
BARBERS POLE WORM PROJECT: In 2000, CSIRO was funded $2,900 to research a rapid diagnosis of barber's pole worm. In 2001 the Trust was advised that the project had been completed with a successful outcome being a reliable diagnosis technique with the benefit of being completed within a single day.
DNA: In 2000, $1,500 was put towards DNA demonstrations at the Falkiner Memorial Field Station, Deniliquin.
WOOL HANDLER TRAINING: In 2006, a pilot project was agreed for wool handler training, conducted by the Western Institute of TAFE, with the Trust funding 100 students at $164 each.
The pilot was a success, and in 2008 the trustees approved an allocation of up to $19,500 to continue the project and fund a further 75 places in the 2008-09 and another 20 places in 2010-11 financial years.
Funding has continued in the following years and a further allocation has been made for the 2012-2013 year.
In 2012 and again in 2013, the NSW SMBA Trust has sponsored The Royal Agricultural Society of NSW Foundation (RASF) for a student who has a focus on Merino sheep husbandry (http://www.rasnsw.com.au/foundation.htm). This helps to build strong, vibrant rural communities through education and skills development.
The grants and scholarships are to help young, rural Australians realise their potential through education and the Trust believes this sponsorship will help students to actively seek a future in the Merino sheep industry and may well help to achieve their ambitions and assist them continue to develop a career in the sector.
For 2013 the NSWSMBA Trust has also agreed to an ongoing project to sponsor a Scholarship for an Honours student in the Faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Sydney, undertaking research or study in relation to Merino sheep. As well as this, the Trust is providing part-funding of a major research project in "Achieving low cost, accessible artificial insemination of frozen semen for the sheep industry".