Thirteen agricultural shows, including Royal Agricultural Society Victoria (RASV), and related youth groups across Australia have received grant funding via the new Australian Young Farmer Challenge (AYFC) Regional Grant Program.
The 2020/21 grant program awarded over $75,000 in sponsorship impacting over 40 competitions at different shows over the next 18 months.
An initiative of the peak body for the 580 agricultural shows across Australia, Agricultural Shows Australia, the grant program helps shows invest in the spectacle of a 'young farmer challenge' which is a showcase of young people in Australian agriculture competing in diverse and colourful challenges testing skill, technique, knowledge and safety practices.
Held at agricultural shows across the country, young farmer challenges can involve changing tyres, driving tractors, handling alpacas, identifying cattle breeds, putting out fires, torniqueing faux snakes bites, erecting fences and myriad other farming tasks in teams, against the clock and in front of a crowd.
Agricultural Shows Australia executive officer Katie Stanley said the Australian Young Farmer Challenge Regional Grant Program required successful recipients to outline their plans for a sustainable competition in their local area or across their state.
"These competitions allow young rural people to take centre stage with their mates in front of the crowds at agricultural shows, while demonstrating the diverse skills needed to be a modern farmer," Ms Stanley said.
"Shows use this competition to entertain crowds whilst being an educational showcase of young people in agriculture," she said.
Ms Stanley said the grants are supporting the costs of organising and running competitions at a local, regional and state level across Australia.
"These competitions provide entertainment and crowd engagement as well education for the broader community about agriculture, food and more specifically, the role of farmers and farm safety.
"The purpose of the program is to support the sharing of knowledge, encourage community initiatives and promote community leadership," she said.
The successful applicants listed below have received funding for a range of projects including challenge equipment and trailers to facilitate equipment sharing.
- The Ag Group South Coast & Tablelands including shows in Albion Park, Berry, Bowral, Bulli, Camden, Dapto, Kangaroo Valley, Kiama, Milton, Moss Vale, Nowra, Picton and Robertson in NSW
- Tenterfield Show Society in New South Wales
- Agricultural Societies Council of NSW - Group 3 which includes shows in Bulahdelah, Gosford, Cessnock, Dungog, Gresford, Maitland, Merriwa, Morisset Lake Macquarie, Newcastle, Singleton, Stroud, Upper Hunter and Wyong Shire in New South Wales
- Kempsey Show Society in New South Wales
- Taree Show Society in New South Wales
- Bellinger River Agricultural Show Society in New South Wales
- Gatton Show Society in Queensland
- Emerald Show Society in Queensland
- The South Australian Agricultural Shows Next Generation Group
- Mundulla Show in South Australia
- Parndana Show in South Australia
- The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria
- The Royal Agricultural Society of Western Australia's next generation group
"We encourage all those interested in participating in any of these young farmer challenges, or shows planning on hosting a competition to reach out to their state ag show body or Agricultural Shows Australia," Ms Stanley said.
The project is jointly funded by Agricultural Shows Australia and the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment's Building Landcare Community and Capacity component of the National Landcare Program.