Youth can test their farm skills at Expo

Ann RawlingsCountryman
Billi Marshall, breeding technician based in Dongara and co-ordinator of Mingenew Expo's youth competitions.
Camera IconBilli Marshall, breeding technician based in Dongara and co-ordinator of Mingenew Expo's youth competitions. Credit: Justine Rowe

McIntosh & Son Mingenew Midwest Expo has put a call out to youth in agriculture, with the aim of drumming up support for its Young Farmers Competition.

The competition, for participants aged 15-25, will be run on August 14, the first day of Expo.

It includes five challenges, one of which is a team fencing event.

Three of the challenges — Merino sheep, Merino fleece judging and beef cattle judging — are also stepping stones for participants to compete at the Young Judges Championships at this year’s Perth Royal Show.

Expo Young Farmers Competition steward Billi Marshall said Mingenew would be the most northern town in the State to host an Agricultural Shows Australia State finals qualifier.

“I know from being in this region that it’s really hard to get young people to qualify for the show,” she said.

“We encourage people within the community and those based on farms, or those who just have an interest in agriculture, to compete at Expo. They don’t have to be a part of a school.”

In the Merino sheep and beef cattle judging challenges, participants are asked to judge two classes of four animals, after which they must give an oral presentation to competition judges to explain their placings.

In the Merino fleece challenge, participants must judge two classes of four fleeces and, again, give reasons for their selection. The fourth challenge tests participants on their knowledge of weeds, seeds, pests and diseases commonly found in cereal and pasture crops in the Mid West.

In the team event, fencing, competitors must construct a Waratah stock fence within 50 minutes, demonstrating their skills with plain wire, ringlock, gripples and figure-eight knots.

Last year, Ms Marshall, a cattle breeding technician with Dongara’s Bos Vet and Rural, came first in the ASA Beef Cattle Judging Championship State Final after several years of vying for the title.

She will compete in the National Young Judges Competition, to be held at the Perth Royal Show.

“This is an opportunity to train kids and expose the next generation to farming, and not just the kids competing, but everyone who comes to Expo — or any regional show — and give them a decent look at what people in agriculture are doing,” she said.

“There’s skill in what people in agriculture do, when it comes to breeding cattle, sheep, cropping and the rest, so if we can encourage young people to get in and have a go, there’s more of a future in agriculture.”

To enter, go to mmwe.com.au/youth-program. Registrations are required by Monday, August 5.

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