A MID West farmer with a passion for sustainable, progressive agriculture has been named as Rural Ambassador of the Year by the Royal Agricultural Society of WA.
Brad Kupsch, 29, representing Chapman Valley Agricultural Society, is a mixed grain and livestock farmer at Tara Limousin Stud and Black Tara Angus, in the Allanooka region.
In his new role Mr Kupsch is keen to inspire children and young adults to embrace the agricultural lifestyle in an array of professions.
"I want farmers to be viewed with the same professionality as a doctor, lawyer and other top-end occupations," he said.
"Not enough credit is given to farmers for the good work they do."
In his speech at the awards presentation at Claremont Showgrounds last weekend, Mr Kupsch emphasised how diversification creates strength and opportunity.
"When a grain grower diversifies into beef, his business gains diversity and strength from the ever tumultuous commodity markets," he said.
"More diverse enterprises call for more advisory specialists to help, such as agronomists, vets and nutritionists.
"A calling for more skilled labour and advisory positions would not only create interest in agricultural uni degrees, but jobs located in rural settings."
Mr Kupsch said greater intensification created greater room for more siblings to return to the farm and more employment opportunities in general.
He said it could lead to gains not just for the farmer, but the wider community.
Gains include more people in town, more productive use of land rather than just larger scale expansion, and increasing the chances of farmers better selling their story.
Mr Kupsch is looking forward to attending the IGA Perth Royal Show and helping to give city people a glimpse of country life.
He has fond memories of attending his local agricultural show as a kid, including accidentally squashing his mum's cakes enroute.
Mr Kupsch said for this reason he would stay away from the Cookery pavilion.
He was one of five finalists competing to be this year's rural ambassador.
South West group finalist Stephanie Kennaugh, 20, representing the Margaret River and Districts Agricultural Society was runner-up.
A sales manager with Margaret River Venison Farm, Ms Kennaugh said as a fourth generation farmer said she saw enormous, untapped potential for agribusiness.
"But to utilise this we need to change and reduce red tape, encourage the innovation of youth and reassess our mindset," she said.
The other contenders were Jill Hayes, 23, representing Quairading Agricultural Society, Jessica Fleay, 24, of Beverley Agricultural Society and Kara Dohle, of Wagin Agricultural Society.