WA Rural Ambassador 2017, Luke Hall, Wagin, has finished runner up at the finals of Agricultural Shows Australia’s (ASA) National Rural Ambassador for 2018 at the Royal Adelaide Show on the weekend.
Mr Hall was pipped by Sophie Crooke, 25, from Sale, Victoria, who was named National Rural Ambassador for 2018 at a presentation dinner at the Royal Adelaide Show.
“It was a pretty good show,” Mr Hall said.
“There was a lot of young people involved which was great to see.”
Mr Hall won $4000 as runner up for his efforts in supporting the community and representing WA.
From Wagin, he was the latest nominee to be successful in winning the State title.
“Wagin and Woolorama have put someone up for about 30 years now,” Mr Hall said.
“They’ve never missed a year putting someone up, so I’m taking part in the tradition.
“In fact, I’m only the second male from Wagin to win the State title.”
Mr Hall believed education, starting at primary school age, was the answer to improving awareness of the agriculture industry.
“Kids don’t need to be leaving school with a doctorate, but for them to leave with a general idea of what we do on farms would go a long way,” he said.
Mr Hall is a strong advocate for Australian children being educated about farming and agriculture from a young age so the nation’s future leaders are in a better position to make decisions regarding the industry.
“I would like to get in the ear of the education minister to get a subject into schools to teach kids about the agriculture industry,” he said.
“Then, when it comes to issues such as the recent live export debate, the decision-makers will have more of an idea of how the industry works.”
A born and bred farmer, producing oats, canola, wheat and barley, and running 3000 Merino sheep, Mr Hall has been committed to continual improvement on the farm, and has implemented cutting-edge technology to improve farming practices, cut costs and increase yield.
“Our farm has been mapped and surveyed to different soil types, allowing different water holding capacities and fertiliser to be applied depending on the quality of the soil,” Mr Hall said.
“We are also using the latest in GPS technology within our harvesting operation, saving on labour and fuel.”
Mr Hall is also part of a movement in Wagin that donates a crop to the local Baptist Church, which is distributed to help third world people in Mozambique, and is heavily involved in Wagin Woolorama.
Despite being a sheep farmer, he has taken over the reins of the role of cattle steward for Wagin Woolorama.
“I’ve been volunteering with the ring steward, so helping out in the cattle section on the day and with set up and pack up for ten years now,” he said.
Mr Hall said encouraging more young people to support their country shows was vital.
“When I left school, only one other person my age in the town was involved in helping out with the show,” he said.
“I felt that if I didn’t do it, who would?”
Mr Hall also hopes to finish off his tenure as State ambassador by attracting more young people from the regions to the Perth Royal Show – to highlight to the city folk what agriculture is all about.
The National Rural Ambassador 2018 winner, Sophie Crooke, is junior vice-president of the Sale Show , Victoria, and runs an Angus beef cattle breeding herd with her husband, and has goals to produce their own brand of grass-fed beef in 2019.
She also works as a laboratory technician with Esso, and holds a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Animal Science and Zoology.
Ms Crooke said she was delighted to be named National Rural Ambassador and looked forward to working to promote the valuable role that shows play in rural communities.
“My win was highly unexpected as I was in awe of how incredible all the other finalists were and their amazing achievements,” Ms Crooke said.
She received $6000 for the win.
ASA chairman Dr Rob Wilson said the judges had a hard task in choosing the winner as all finalists were enthusiastic, talented and knowledgeable about the issues facing their communities and agricultural shows in general.
“Judging by the high quality of finalists, it’s obvious the Show movement is in good hands,” Dr Wilson said.
Dr Wilson said there were more than 580 agricultural shows in Australia, with a combined economic value of $965 million annually.
“They play a vital role in forging a connection between the country and the city, and in strengthening rural communities,” he said.