Youth in agriculture a focus at Dowerin

Ann RawlingsCountryman
Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days assistant event co-ordinator Kahli Rose and event co-ordinator Suzanne Blay.
Camera IconDowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days assistant event co-ordinator Kahli Rose and event co-ordinator Suzanne Blay. Credit: Ann Rawlings

The Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days is not only a showcase for the latest agricultural machinery, it also highlights the depth and breadth of careers available within the industry.

With this in mind, the Field Days Committee this year has brought a new competition into the fold, the Young Farmers Challenge.

Event co-ordinator Suzanne Blay said the aim was to build the field days’ focus on youth.

“It was driven from the need to have something on site that interests the youth of today and gets them involved,” she said.

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“Every year, we like to encourage people to look at the ag industry not only for a career but also as a lifestyle choice.

“We thought the Young Farmers Challenge was a good option, because it can be fun and be relevant to the industry.

“We’ll set up a course of 10 everyday farm tasks, which can range from fencing to weed and seed identification, but with a funny twist on everything.”

Held in the Machinery Demo Arena at 2pm on Wednesday, August 29, teams of four can register for the competition on the day via the Field Days Office.

The teams need to be of mixed gender with members between the ages of 18 and 35.

The challenges presented will remain a mystery until the start of the event, although similar competitions include tasks such as setting up a portable electric fence, rolling a hay or wool bale a set distance and classing wool, in which competitors are asked to match the fleece to the correct micron value.

Ms Blay said each task had been designed to be a light-hearted approach to the real world of farming, with the challenge to be entertaining for spectators as well.

“It will be a race against the clock to complete each task, but it will also be a bit of a laugh,” she said.

Teams will be timed on how long it takes to complete each task, with points totalled at the end of the competition. A time penalty of 15 seconds will apply to any team that does not complete a challenge to a satisfactory standard.

Ms Blay said the team with the quickest overall time would win.

She said the Dowerin Field Days’ Young Farmers Challenge had been modelled on a nation-wide competition called the Australian Young Farmer Challenge, which involves teams competing on a regional, State and then national level.

The challenges in this national competition range from animal handling, to driving tractors, putting out fires, first aid and heavy lifting.

Ms Blay said the winning team of the Dowerin Field Days’ Young Farmers Challenge would not only win the hearts of spectators, but would also be up for some great prizes.

She said each member of the winning team would receive $250, with a further $1000 being awarded to an organisation of their choice, thus continuing the Dowerin Field Days’ support of its surrounding communities.

The winning team must be present at the Sundowner on Wednesday at 5.30pm to collect their cash prize, with a trophy and sashes being awarded to members at the conclusion of the competition

All competitors must wear covered footwear and appropriate clothing for outdoor and farm-related activities.

“Elders has provided all the gear we need for the event, which we really appreciate,” Ms Blay said.

“There are so many ways to expand the Young Farmers Challenge. The potential growth of this event is unlimited.”

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