Rising WA cattle star snares national rural ambassador role

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Harris Thompson, of Boyup Brook, has been named WA’s first National Rural Ambassador in 16 years.
Camera IconHarris Thompson, of Boyup Brook, has been named WA’s first National Rural Ambassador in 16 years. Credit: Simon Santi

A rising star of the Australian cattle industry has been named WA’s first National Rural Ambassador in 16 years.

Harris Thompson, 22, a cattle breeder with a passion for agricultural shows, was awarded the title at a presentation at Perth’s Rendezvous Hotel last Sunday night.

He was selected from a pool of seven finalists after giving a whole-hearted speech about the importance of rural agricultural shows at the gala dinner.

He also answered a range of questions in front of a panel of four judges, as well as the other finalists, friends, family and dignitaries, with a focus on the importance of agricultural shows.

Mr Thompson will receive $6000 and an all-expenses paid trip to the Agricultural Shows Australia’s inaugural Next Generation Conference on the Gold Coast in January.

He will also travel the national agricultural show circuit next year, giving presentations on his topic and meeting youth involved in agricultural shows across Australia.

“It is such an important subject to me ... I love showing, I love all aspects of it,” Mr Thompson said.

Shows have been enjoyed by so many before us, and I really want to make sure they continue for the generations still to come.

Harris Thompson is a 10th generation farmer.
Camera IconHarris Thompson is a 10th generation farmer. Credit: Simon Santi

A 10th generation farmer, Mr Thompson farms 1120ha with his family.

Together, they own and run a mixed-farming enterprise with cattle, sheep and cropping, including Venturon Charloais stud.

The family also has a White Suffolk stud and a Merino sheep enterprise, but their program is about 70 per cent cattle, 20 per cent sheep and 10 per cent cropping.

Mr Thompson is also the co-vice-president and cattle steward of the Upper Blackwood Agricultural Society, which originally put him forward for the WA award.

The annual title of National Rural Ambassador is bestowed upon a young rural adult with a passion for living and working in rural communities each year.

The competition starts with the appointing of a WA Rural Ambassador, who then competes against the other State and Territory winners in a national stand-off.

Mr Thompson said he had been passionate about the Australian cattle industry from a young age, purchasing his first Murray Grey cow as a youngster.

He later attended WA College of Agriculture — Cunderdin and graduated in 2014, before heading back to the farm straight away.

Speaking at the Perth Royal Show cattle auction on Monday, Perth Royal Show president Paul Carter congratulated Mr Thompson.

“There were some amazing candidates that he came up against, and he brought home the bacon,” Mr Carter said.

Upper Blackwood Agricultural Society president David Corker, of Boyup Brook, spoke glowingly of Mr Thompson and said he was an attribute to the Boyup Brook community.

“I have known Harris since he was about eight years old, and recognised what a gregarious chap he was as a little boy, and what a passion he had for breeding cattle ... we have become great friends,” he said. “He is a great one for nurturing interest in young people who love cattle, and who like the rural life.

“He has a number of young friends who he assists with training of how to prepare and lead and show cattle. In general, he is an extremely community minded individual.

“He volunteers to take on tasks in the community just to be of assistance ... that includes functions for the elderly and for schoolchildren.

“I am just very proud of the young fellow ... he’s a lovely guy and he has lovely parents.”

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