Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Showgirl Finals & all things dairy

Zone 3 Final - The Land Sydney Royal Showgirl Competition

For those of you that follow The Land Sydney Royal Showgirl Competition, you would be aware that February has been a busy month on the Showgirl calendar.

This weekend, Zone 3 hosted their Zone Final - which had very special significance for me as this was the zone I represented last year at the State Final.

Zone 3 extends from the Southern Tablelands down to the Snowy Mountains and Far South Coast and this year the Zone Final was hosted by Bega.

Bega put on a great event with the Zone Final dinner held in the Grand Pavilion at the Showground.  This building is the largest of its kind in Southern NSW - and was built over 100 years ago!

Congratulations to all 12 of the Zone Finalists - you did a wonderful job representing your local communities and I hope you gained alot from your showgirl experience.

Photo: The Zone 3 showgirl finalists up on stage prior to the winners being announced
The 2013 Zone 3 Finalists at Bega.

The Bega Valley is a gorgeous corner of NSW and is well renowned for its "Bega Cheese" and its dairy industry.

Bega is also the hometown of one of the 2012 Young Farming Champions in the Art4Agriculture program - Tom Pearce put together this video to share his experience in the Australian Dairy Industry and inspire a new generation to consider the opportunities that await in Australian Agriculture.

I think this is a great video - which both showcases the Bega Valley & also encourages young people to think about the opportunities and experiences that getting involved with the Australian Dairy industry can offer. (Thanks Tom for sharing this video.)

Tom was also kind enough to take a few showgirls on a tour of a dairy farm while they were in town for the Zone Final! Thanks Tom, Warwick Farms & the Bega Show Society for all your wonderful country hospitality!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Showgirls - representing your local show

What the Showgirl Competition is really all about - not what you may think...

2012 The Land Sydney Royal Showgirl State Finalists

The countdown to the Sydney Royal Easter Show is on and with that also means the Showgirl competition is stepping up with the Zone Finals already underway. 

For those of you not so familiar with the Showgirl Competition here is a quick brief:

Each local show has a local showgirl competition - the aim is to select a young lady as an ambassador for the local community and recognize their involvement in their local community and show. The winner then goes on to represent their town at the Zone Final.

The winners of each Zone Final (there is 7 zones across NSW) earn a place at the State Final which is hosted by the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.

The Showgirl Competition provides young women with an opportunity to give something back to their community, as well as engage in their own personal development and build networks with other young women with a passion for rural NSW.

2012 The Land Sydney Royal Showgirl State Finalists at Government House in Sydney with the Governor of NSW,  Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir 

The 2013 Zone 1 Showgirl Final was hosted by Mullumbimby. Echonetdaily.net.au put together a great video on the  Zone 1 Final and I think it summaries really well what the Showgirl Competition is all about. 

~ Enjoy.
& Good luck to all the Showgirls participating in the upcoming Zone Finals across the State!

Extract from the Showgirl Information guide (www.agshowsnsw.org.au

Overall, the aim of the Showgirl Competition is to find a person most suited to represent young rural 
women of NSW during her term as ‘The Land Sydney Royal Showgirl’. This covers many 
official and informal situations during the Sydney Royal Easter Show, as well as her travels 
within NSW and interstate. The Society therefore seeks an articulate and presentable person 
with a pleasant personality. 

The winner will be required to meet a wide variety of people and should be able to converse 
intelligently about Australia in general and in particular her own district. She will be 
interviewed by press, radio and television and will be asked to speak about her experiences 
before a range of groups. 

The RAS defines a ‘local’ showgirl as a person with strong family, personal, educational or 
business associations within the local community. She must also be approved and nominated 
by her local Show Society and have a genuine interest in and understanding of rural and 
regional issues.

2012 The Land Sydney Royal Showgirl place-getters

Show me the future - AY Roundup Dubbo 2013

Who said you shouldn't work with cows & kids...?

Hello - its been a while between posts but I assure you, the time away from the blog has been well spent.
2013 Angus Youth National Roundup

In January I helped run the 2013 Angus Youth National Roundup in Dubbo NSW. We had record entries with 207 competitors between the ages of 8 and 25 plus their bovine charges - all in 4 days in one shed and a  heatwave.

Competitors at the 2013 National Angus Youth Roundup.

The hard work from the committee was well worth it as the event ran very well  - I am saving the details for future blog posts but for those who can't wait for the results from the event, they can be found here.

Thanks to the committee and volunteers for for all their hard work and also a big thank you to the sponsors of the 2013 Roundup - your support is greatly appreciated and is important to ensure we can continue to put on a good show!

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Bridging the Gap

Introducing the Young Farming Champions...

2012 has been the Australian Year of the Farmer with the aim of helping to educate the broader community about the importance of agriculture and enlighten them about the dedicated, hard-working people that provide that quality food for your table (and lots of other's as well) everyday.

Some of our city cousins have lost that connection with the rural communities and no longer understand where their food & fibre comes from, let alone what goes into growing it! The increasing curiosity about where their food comes from and the new platform of social media, I believe gives us a great opportunity for rural people to engage and tell our own story about what we do everyday to help put that food on your table.  

During my travels I have run across a program that has been started in several schools as a way of educating children about agriculture called Art4Agriculture

Part of the program for schools is the Archibull Prize - (yes ArchiBULL not Archibalds....!) in which students get to meet a young farmer, and then explore and showcase a particular food/fibre industry as the subject of an artwork.

Sounds like fun?! The other twist is the blank canvas each school is provided for their artwork is not actually canvas - but a life-size fibre glass cow!

A team of young farmers, aka "Young Farming Champions" travel to a few schools each and tell their story about what they do as a farmer. They have all put together some great videos to share with the classes during their visits so I hope to share some of these with you.

Thanks to Young Farming Champion Richie Quigley & Art4Ag for this one.

The 2012 The Land Sydney Showgirl Runner-up, Jess Monteith is also one of this year's Young Farming Champions!

You can read about Jess's story here, courtesy of Art4Ag.

The Art4Ag program is a great initiative and provides a little inspiration on just how easy it is for an everyday person to share their story about agriculture.

Art4Agriculture also have a great blog that you can follow: Art4Ag blog or go to their website www.art4agriculture.com.au

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Backdrop Fit For A Show

What A Scene

Last weekend I was invited to open the 66th Annual Show at a little town in Southern NSW called The Rock.

True to its name, The Rock is well renowned for its signature landmark ‘The Rock’; a rocky hill that overlooks the town. The showgrounds (and golf course) are nestled almost at the foot of the Rock and provide I think the most beautiful backdrop to any country show in NSW.

Although The Rock is only a small town, it was great to see the number of families that had all come out for the day to experience something at the Show. I also believe I saw the largest number of entries I have ever seen in the “best decorated arrowroot” section, so I think this is a highly regarded title to hold in the town!

I had the pleasure of judging the junior showgirl and show boy competitions with 2011 The Rock Showgirl & 2012 State Finalist, Emma Angel. I didn’t realise just how many kids were on the showgrounds as they just kept appearing and were all very excited to get up on stage – one young boy was so keen he even joined us during the presentations of The Rock Showgirl at the Show Opening!

Congratulations to the entrants of this year’s showgirl, both young ladies were very passionate about the town they call home and the importance of having sustainable rural communities. Such great ambassadors for their town - it is great to see some young people getting involved and keen to give something back to their community. 

Making headlines in The Daily Advertiser (Local Wagga Wagga rag).
2012 The Rock Showgirl Riley Cherrey, 2012 Runner-up Ashton Yates, The Rock Show President Mr Jim Payne, 2011 The Rock Showgirl & 2012 State Finalist Emma Angel & 2012 The Land Sydney Royal Showgirl Jasmine Nixon.

One of the things I enjoy the most about helping with the junior showgirl/show boy competitions is the creative responses you hear when young kids are asked about their favourite part of the Show, or what they have enjoyed most about their day at the Show. The rides and animal nursery always normally get a few votes, or whether they got a prize in the pavilion with their entry or with their game-bird in the poultry section. 

One response from a young lad I think really epitomized what the Show movement is about – he was at the Show with his family to spend the day with his grandmother and see if she won any prizes with her knitting. Sometimes I think we can get a little caught up in all the bright lights, ribbons and prizes but not only are our shows about excellence and entertainment, but they provide an opportunity for the community to all come together and celebrate what it is that we do best. Whether that is baking cakes, growing vegetables, floral arrangements, having an eye for a good horse, or breeding stud stock the Show provides something for everyone with an opportunity for us to all come together to showcase and celebrate what we do.

Congratulations to The Rock Show Committee on another successful Show and thank you for your wonderful hospitality. Also special mention must go to Megan Coyle - it was great to see a past showgirl (& state finalist!) continuing to be so heavily involved in some many parts of their local show - very inspiring for future showgirls!

Monday, 8 October 2012

It has been a little while between posts!

With the spring show season well underway, I have been covering a lot miles around the NSW countryside attending various different country show events. I’m always excited to attend another show as they are all so unique.

Fields of green & gold! Taken along the road on the way home from the annual Canowindra Show.

It is also very hard to beat the absolutely picturesque countryside this time of year. With the crops and pastures all growing and green, and the canola all bright and golden, the miles between each show have been a pleasure to travel with such a great view out the window!

I have several exciting posts coming your way on the some of the shows I have been to so – watch this space!!!

In between the country shows I have also been busy helping out on the organizing committee of the 2013 National Angus Youth Roundup.

Angus Youth is the junior activities division of Angus Australia (which is the organisation responsible for the registrations, recording and marketing of purebred Angus cattle). It aims to help develop beef industry leaders for the future and runs a program of various events and scholarships aimed at getting more young people into agriculture and the beef industry.

The National Angus Youth Roundup is one of these events. It is run annually by a group of volunteers and provides young people aged 8-25 the opportunity to have a go at showing cattle as well as learning all about the beef industry. Over the 4 day program, kids get to participate in different educational sessions, team games, junior judging, handling competitions and showing their animal. The event moves to a different location each year and the great part is that you don’t have to have your own animal to attend. The Roundup is strongly supported by Angus seedstock breeders who bring along extra cattle, -“ballot animals” – for those kids that don’t have their own to borrow for the weekend. I was one of these kids that borrowed a ballot animal at my first Roundup in 2003 and next year I am hoping to repay the favour and take along some of my own animals for another kid to get that opportunity.

Making friends with the Red Angus heifer at my first Angus Youth Roundup - thank you Moorefields Red Angus (photo from www.moorefields.com.au ) 

As part of the organizing committee we work on organizing the grounds, catering, educational program, judges, games and sponsorship – you never quite appreciate all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes organizing these junior events until you get on board!

The next National Angus Youth Roundup is being planned for Dubbo NSW on 17th-20th January 2013.

Entries are now open so jump on the Angus Youth website and download an entry form! (Just a tip: To be able to get a ballot animal you MUST get your entry in on time!)

If you have any questions about the Roundup, just drop me a line or contact Angus Youth (youth@angusaustralia.com.au)

Stay tuned - more posts about my latest show adventures on the way!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Woolworths Ag Business Scholarship Wrap-up

The 2012 Woolworths Agricultural Business Scholarship finally comes to a close.

Wow - what a busy two weeks! Week one was only a warm-up compared to the intense timetable the Agscholars had for week two at the Woolworths Agricultural Business Scholarship program!

We covered a huge range of topics, including
  • presentations from industry experts on the BIG issues and challenges facing Australian agriculture,
  • discussions around agricultural education of the broader community,
  • tour of a Woolworths distribution centre which is the key part of getting that great, fresh Australian produce to the store shelf,
  • guided visit of a Woolworths store to explore the new concepts and innovative ideas to provide the best fresh food solutions to consumers,
  • rubbed shoulders with some industry champions at the 2012 National Landcare Awards
  • leadership development workshops
  • & experienced a new perspective of Sydney - from on top of the Bridge!
Needless to say I can not fit all of that in this post!

Watch this space - I will fill you in on all the details on some of these amazing sessions soon!

Being able to participate in discussions facing Australian agriculture and our rural communities with some of the brightest young minds the industry has to offer was truly a great experience.  It challenged me to think outside the square and was great to have other young people that are passionate about their industry to share and bounce ideas around with. The passion these young people have for Australian agriculture is remarkable and assures me the future of Australian agriculture is bright if we have these young people heading up our approach to the challenges and our industry will face.

The Woolworths Agricultural Business Scholarship was an invaluable experience and I am very grateful for the opportunity to participate - a big thank you to the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW for supporting the growth and development of young people with a passion for agriculture.

If you are looking for an opportunity to network with other like-minded young people with a passion for agriculture, learn about the supply chain from several different perspectives as well as further your own professional development I highly recommend applying for the Woolworths Agricultural Business Scholarship - you will be amazed what doors it may open for you.

Thank you very much Woolworths (shout out to Katie Poray for all her great work!) for conducting this program and providing us with such a great opportunity. Your support of the youth of Australian agriculture is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Thank you to Yvette and Katie for putting this together :)