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Top rural ambassadors vie for national honour

Sheep Central, April 6, 2022

Joshua Antonio and work mates.

AGRICULTURAL Shows of Australia has announced the nation’s latest cohort of emerging agricultural leaders – the finalists in the prestigious National Rural Ambassador Award.

The national Rural Ambassador Award aims to discover the next generation of rural leaders who have the desire to represent and promote their community, their region and their state.

The National Rural Ambassador finalists include James Cleaver and Dione Howard from New South Wales; Brianna Hockey  and Teri Sommerfield from Queensland; Grace Calder from Victoria; Karl Milde and Rebekah Rushton from South Australia; Sally Kershaw and Matilda Scott from Tasmania and; Joshua Antonio and Kelly Gorter from Western Australia.

Agricultural Shows Australia chairman Dr Rob Wilson said the award provides a great opportunity to give young people a forum to express their views through education and experience and develop closer links with like-minded representatives from around the state and across Australia.

The ASA is the peak body overseeing 572 agricultural shows in Australia that attract six million visitors annually and contribute nearly $1billion to the national economy.

Dr Wilson said the National Rural Ambassador Award aims to provide an opportunity for young people to promote rural communities and agricultural industries.

“The award serves to identify and recognise the next generation of leaders who have a strong commitment to agricultural industries or a genuine interest in the agricultural show movement.”

The National Rural Ambassador Award is held in a different location each year. In 2022, the Sydney Royal Easter Show, in its bicentenary year, will host the 2022 National Rural Ambassador Award including the 2021 finalists who were unable to compete at Ekka due to covid cancellations.

Joshua Antonio, 26, from Northam was awarded life membership at the Northam Show recently, an honour usually afforded to individuals after decades of service.

“I grew up being Mum and Dad’s free labour in the sheep yards and rock picking to pay off the pony obsession that I never grew out of.

“As I got older, my school and uni holiday and weekend cash jobs involved driving chaser bins, drenching sheep, pushing up cows, and scrubbing Bathurst burr,” Joshua said.

Information about the competition can be found here.

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