WA ambassador heads to national finals

31 Aug, 2018 04:00 AM
WA Rural Ambassador Luke Hall, 28, Wagin, will represent the State in the national final at the Adelaide Royal Show.
WA Rural Ambassador Luke Hall, 28, Wagin, will represent the State in the national final at the Adelaide Royal Show.

AGRICULTURAL Shows Australia (ASA) will stage the National Finals of the 2018 Young Judges Championships at the Royal Adelaide Show from August 31 to September 6.

Finalists from each state of Australia and New Zealand will compete in eight livestock sections, encompassing beef cattle parading and judging, sheep and fleece judging, dairy cattle handling and judging, and poultry judging.

The prestigious National Rural Ambassador Final - which recognises emerging agricultural leaders, aged 20 to 30, who have shown commitment and leadership within the agricultural show movement - will also be held at the Adelaide Show, on September 2.

ASA chair Dr Rob Wilson said the National Finals of the Young Judges Championships would showcase some of the best and brightest young people in Australian agriculture.

WA Rural Ambassador Luke Hall, 28, Wagin, will represent the State in the final.

"The National Finals highlight the next generation of agricultural industry leaders, and are a great opportunity to acknowledge the hard work of many young people in rural Australia," Dr Wilson said.

"Competitors range in age from 16 to 29, and come from across Australia, with each of the finalists becoming eligible to compete at the National Finals after winning their respective state titles.

"We are also looking forward to welcoming our finalists from New Zealand, who are strong performers in many of the sections featured in the National Finals."

Dr Wilson said the National Finals would also be a good opportunity to spread the word about ASA - a membership body established in 2016 to promote the role and significance of Australian agricultural shows to the wider community, and to advocate on their behalf.

"There are over 580 agricultural shows in Australia, with a combined economic value of $965 million annually," Dr Wilson said.

"Over six million Australians attend agricultural shows each year.

"They play a vital role in forging a connection between the country and the city, and in strengthening rural communities."

Wagin may be a small country town but it has a strong history in the National Rural Ambassador competition, with Mr Hall being its 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.

"It was a bit of a shock, but I am pleased, it's good to put young farmers' voices out there."

Mr Hall believes education, starting at primary school age, is 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.

He 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 is 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," he 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 his local show.

Despite being a sheep farmer, he has taken over the reins of the role of cattle steward for the Wagin Woolorama Show this year.

"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.

He says that 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.

"I felt that if I didn't do it, who would?"

Other WA National Finalists competing at the show will be Stuart Richardson, 19, Kojonup - judging Merino fleece, Harris Thompson, 20, Boyup Brook - judging beef cattle, James Batterbee, 16, Boddington - judging meat breeds sheep, Kaiden Johnston, 18, Quairading - judging Merino sheep, Jai Thomas, 15, Murdoch - judging dairy cattle, Samuel Hall, 16, Baldivis - judging dairy paraders, Rachel Williams, 21, Albany - judging beef paraders.

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