Harding takes show reins


It won’t be all fairy floss and show bags for former farmer and stock agent Hugh Harding, who is taking on the role of president of the Royal Agricultural Society (RAS).

Mr Harding, 68, who replaced Tony Devitt, has had a lifelong affinity with rural life, having grown up in Harvey.

He also has an entrepreneurial streak, insisting on helping his father in the family earth moving business for pocket money after school during the evenings and at weekends.

After leaving school, Mr Harding joined a tyre business and learnt administration skills in the office. After hours and at weekends, he would cart hay and help out at the local drive-in.

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Always seeking challenges, Mr Harding joined the Harvey Junior Farmers’ Club which was the foundation club in WA. It wasn’t too long before he was elected president.

After an invitation by his wife Laraine’s parents to become partners in the family farm, in Harvey and soon after at Williams, Mr Harding worked to improve their Hereford cattle stud and commercial herd. After a decade the couple, together with their three sons, moved again when Mr Harding took up a position with the rural division of Wesfarmers as a livestock agent in Gnowangerup.

His expertise was the driving force for promotion and management status in various locations throughout the State. After a three-year stint in NSW, Mr Harding was called back to the west and took the role of state livestock and key account manager before becoming general manager of livestock with Harvey Beef.

He also worked with the Pastoralists and Graziers Association.

Landmark again beckoned and Mr Harding took on the role as secretary of the WA Livestock Salesmen’s Association, looking after the sales yards owned by Elders and Landmark around the State, a position he still holds.

About seven years ago, Mr Harding, who has been involved with the RAS for most of his life, became a member of the council.

“I am a strong supporter of the importance to help young people gain a better understanding of agricultural products and where they come from. We have much to do to better promote agriculture to WA, ” Mr Harding said.

“I am particularly in favour of the Follow the Yellow Brick Road and the School Incursion Program the RAS has on board. The latter was enthusiastically received by teachers and pupils.”

Mr Harding’s term will last for three years and as well as guiding the RAS, Mr Harding is keen for the RAS to assist in further promoting agriculture within the State, particularly through the Show.

“The Show is an icon and an asset to the community, ” he said. “There are many things we can showcase for the better use of resources and new innovations. We will continue to strive to improve and to further enhance knowledge of the agricultural industry to help people understand, develop and forge stronger relationships between the agricultural and inner-city communities.

“Thanks to the State Government’s support of CHOGM 2011, all children aged 12 years and under will receive free entry to this year’s IGA Perth Royal Show when accompanied by an adult.”

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