Ms Janie Forrest
Pig and Alpaca Committee Chair
Janie Forrest was elected to Council in 2010 and over the years has contributed to many committees including Pig & Alpaca, Youth Affairs and Horse along with the Youth in Ag Day Support Group and the Entertainment Support Group.
Ms Forrest brings a wealth of knowledge gained as an innovative livestock and fleece producer and active supporter of indigenous youth.
Ms Forrest’s formative years were spent on the family’s sheep and cattle station bordering on the Pilbara Desert region of Western Australia’s north-west. Following her final year of secondary school, the world opened up when she was selected for a Rotary exchange to Dakota, USA. Ms Forrest then moved to Europe where she studied languages and, as a competent rider, worked show jumpers in Switzerland before commencing and training in hospitality - eventually working with Sheraton Hotels Worldwide and later with boutique hotel groups as a marketing consultant in Sydney. With the lure to return to the land, she established Coolaroo (now Coolawarra) with her family. It was one of the first alpaca studs in Australia. Now it’s one of the oldest in the country, known widely for breeding success in national and international show rings. To fast track the breeding program, Ms Forrest spent a year in Peru’s Altiplano conducting field research within the Peruvian alpaca population from which the species originates. The results, which she has presented in many countries, are the basis of work published with Dr Jim Watts ex CSIRO and founder of the SRS® breeding system, benchmarking follicle density and other fleece traits in the world’s alpaca herd. Coolawarra was one of two studs that were first to commercially harness embryo transfer techniques successfully in the breed.
Today Ms Forrest, with her partner Ian Davison, run a 1200-strong alpaca herd. Both Forrest and Davison are advocates of youth in the industry and remain supportive of Indigenous Education.