Champ a Jack of all trades

Elders Young Farmer Champion Jack Chanpomarat, 16, and runner up Cameron Fernihough, 16.
Camera IconElders Young Farmer Champion Jack Chanpomarat, 16, and runner up Cameron Fernihough, 16. Credit: Cally Dupe

Not growing up on a commercial farm is no limitation for Jack Chanpomarat, who is determined to pursue a career in agriculture when he finishes high school in 18 months.

Jack proved his skills and was named champion in the Elders Young Farmers Competition at McIntosh & Son Mingenew Midwest Expo last Thursday, amassing top points for his work in four challenge categories.

The WA College of Agriculture — Morawa student, who hails from Dongara, was one of dozens who battled it out in the Elders Young Farmers Competition last week.

Students were judged on skills in sheep, cattle and fleece judging, and asked to identify several diseases and insects affecting crops.

Jack, who grew up on a 150ha hobby farm, placed third in the fleece judging but did not place first in any of the categories.

However, judges said he had done well across the board and was deserving of the prize.

“My dad is a mechanic, so we spent a lot of time on farms growing up,” he said.

Jack said he had loved his time at WA College of Agriculture — Morawa, because he had “always been into livestock and country lifestyle-type things”.

“We get to have a lot of experiences and learn a lot of things about animals that you wouldn’t normally, in more detail,” he said. “My favourite part of the competition was building the fence properly ... it was the most difficult, but I love a good challenge,” he said.

He has now set his sights on finding an apprenticeship as a mechanic, with the hope of working on farm machinery.

When asked what his favourite part about agriculture was, Jack’s answer was simple.

“I love how open it is, it doesn’t matter what your background is... there is still a role for you in agriculture,” he said.

The competition was open to students and farmers aged 15-25, and attracted entries from three schools — WA College of Agriculture — Cunderdin, WA College of Agriculture — Morawa, and Edmund Rice College Bindoon.

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