Meet Prue Capp who has a proud history in wine, a passion for beef and a career with horses

Our last three posts have highlighted the value of the partnership between young people, agricultural shows and show competition personal development opportunities like participating and/or judging events and Showgirl and Rural Achiever participation

The Rural Achiever event at a national level becomes The National Rural Ambassador Award.  It promotes young people’s contribution to rural communities, as well as rewarding individual achievement and commitment to the agriculture industry. The national winner receives an annual travel bursary

Our guest post today comes from Prue Capp who was declared the 2013 National Rural Ambassador at the national finals in Fielding in New Zealand’s North Island late last year.

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This is a very prestigious award as you can imagine and it would appear the sky’s the limit for Gresford equine dentist, student and now 2013 Trans-Tasman National Rural Ambassador Prue Capp.

Prue’s love for the country and agriculture started in the Hunter Valley on her family’s historic  beef cattle and stockhorse-breeding property “Cawarra” at Gresford.

In 2009 she graduated from the University of New England with a Bachelor of Agribusiness and completed an equine dentistry course through the International Association of Equine Dentistry in New Zealand in 2010.

She is also an accredited Australian Stock Horse judge, a member of the Gresford Show Committee, a member of the Agricultural Societies Council of NSW (ASC) Youth Group, and at the age of 15 became the co-founder of the Australian Stock Horse Youth Committee.

While still operating her equine dentistry business Essential Equine Dentistry, Ms Capp just finished her first year of Veterinary Science at Charles Sturt University, Wagga

This is Prue Capp’s story ……………………………………….. 

My agricultural background and passion for the land has ultimately paved the direction of my future. I am a sixth generation grazier in Gresford NSW and part of the Lindeman’s family.

Our property “Cawarra” was home to Dr Henry Lindeman and Lindeman’s wines, which began growing grapes as well as raising cattle and producing beef in 1842. While the vineyard and winemaking ventures were moved to Pokolbin in 1912 for more uniform climatic conditions (especially in relation to frosts), the property remained and continues to produce cattle to this day.

Cawarra Homestead

“Cawarra” Homestead

“Cawarra” originally a holding of 5,500 acres is now 840 acres (340 hectares). Like many holdings in the area, “Cawarra” has been subdivided over generations due to high cost of land and popularity of small, rural lifestyle lots common for the area’s idyllic geographic location.

Subdividing the property has allowed us to raise capital and improve pasture and increase livestock carrying capacity.  Whilst “Cawarra” is fairly modest in size, we are very proud to optimising our productivity whilst lowering our environmental footprint.

“Cawarra” operates a primarily Hereford based herd (with some Angus cross), managing 260 cows, 80 heifers and 210 steers. We use low stress handling techniques using horses to move cattle around the property.

As well as our day-to-day operations at “Cawarra”, our family members have off farm income which is common amongst many properties in the Hunter Valley

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Cawarra” cattle

While I have a very strong love of beef cattle, horses have always been an integral component of “Cawarra” for handling and cattle moving purposes. It is no surprise that my brother, sister and myself were all on horse’s before we could walk, as dad believed “it was easier to find us that way”.

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In keeping with family tradition, I too am passionate about the agricultural show movement. From a small age, our family has been involved in various aspects of shows, something which has always been a keen interest of mine. I have been lucky enough to win major placings at agricultural, state, national and royal levels (including Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra Royal shows). Breeding and competing with my own horses is very important to me and I thrive on, and am inspired by their successes and performances.

I was fortunate to attend the New England Girl’s School where my love for agriculture, sport and friendships was nurtured. During my schooling years I was co-founder and vice-president of the Australian Stock Horse Society (ASHS ) Youth Committee. After turning 18 and moving out of the youth events, I attained my judging accreditation helping to bridge the gap between the youth committee and the society.

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Judging Australian Stock Horse’s at an agricultural show.

After finishing school and during university, I worked on thoroughbred studs preparing yearlings for the horse sales. This helped to fund my way through university and open my eyes to yet another avenue of agriculture.

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A personal highlight –  leading through the 2010 Magic Millions top selling colt.

Like most 18 year olds, I wasn’t certain which career direction I was going to take when I finished school. However it felt like a natural progression for me to combine my love for agriculture and my thirst for business knowledge and experience. I graduated from UNE with a Bachelor of Agribusiness in 2009 before travelling around the world with two friends visiting countries in South America, Europe and Africa.

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I have a particular interest in the diversification of rural entities. I am concerned for the many small communities such as Gresford, whose sustainability is under threat from challenges like lack of employment opportunities, population deployment, struggling small businesses and lack of local education opportunities.

This was a major contributing factor for me to study equine dentistry and target a specific niche market, as specialists in many industries do not travel to small communities like ours. I moved to New Zealand to study equine dentistry, before setting up my own business Essential Equine Dentistry in November 2010.

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It was around this time that I became involved in the Agricultural Societies Council of NSW Youth Group. I was very involved in my local Gresford show and realised that there were other young people my age with a passion for the agricultural show movement too. I have held an executive position on the youth group for four years now and spend many of my weekends at agricultural shows judging, stewarding, announcing, coordinating and getting involved in any way.

The agricultural show movement has taken me around the world.

In 2012 I was fortunate to be selected to represent the RAS of NSW and the Next Generation at the RASC conference in Zambia. The ‘Global Food Production’ theme tours were a highlight for me given my farming and agribusiness background. It was enlightening to see how a third world country relies on agriculture as a tool for survival and how even the smallest of improvements in agricultural practices makes a difference in their quality of life. I also got to meet HRH Princess Anne.

If population predictions are correct, it is important now, more than ever, to ensure that we as farmers can continue to feed the world and I aspire to be a part of this.

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Spending a day at a Zambian Agricultural show/expo

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Visiting a feedlot in Zambia

I have been operating my own business Essential Equine Dentistry for three years now and have enjoyed the challenges and benefits involved with running a business. In 2012 I bought a house and relocated to Scone in the Hunter Valley, renown as the horse capital of Australia. At the same time, I was selected as one of eight finalists of the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW Rural Achiever at Sydney Royal Easter Show. This experience included nine amazing days ‘behind the scenes’ of the show, visiting Parliament House and functions with the Governor of NSW. The award is a state-wide leadership program, recognizing future young leaders who are working hard to make a significant contribution to their local community and to rural Australia. I was extremely fortunate to be selected the winner of the award and the NSW Rural Achiever representative.

While I am very proud of my business achievements, I wanted to go further and take it to the next level. While I could not go too much further with equine dentistry, I chose to undertake further study. In 2013, I went back to university as a mature age student (all of 25) to study veterinary science at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga. I enjoy the course as it specialises in large animals, helping to close the divide between the number city vets who specialise in small animals in comparison to the shortage of large animal vets. Once I have completed my degree I am looking forward to working in rural and remote areas

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With my parents Tim and Helen Capp watching the Hereford classes at the Royal New Zealand Show

As the 2012/2013 NSW Rural Achiever, I represented NSW as the finalist at the 2013 National (Trans-Tasman) Rural Ambassador Award run by the Federal Council of Agricultural Societies in December 2013. The award includes each of the state’s rural achiever/ambassador finalists as well as the New Zealand representative. I was very fortunate to win the national award – I am still pinching myself!

This award is a  tremendous opportunity and a platform for me to encourage like-minded people, especially the next generation, to become involved in their community organisations and be proud of their communities.

Becoming the National Rural Ambassador has also allowed me to reach a wider network of like-minded people, giving me a platform from which to showcase the agricultural show movement, promote the agricultural industry and encourage those who may be considering a career in agriculture.

It has also allowed me to encourage and show other young people, especially rural based women that establishing and operating their own businesses, can be highly rewarding and that if you immerse yourself whole heartedly, anything is possible.

As a young agriculturalist, I believe education is the key to the future of the agricultural industry and by further study I will be able to contribute to its future. For this reason I wish to pursue a career as a large animal veterinarian in rural communities as well as work in the live export industry.

I believe in the future of farming and the sustainability of agriculture and I thrive on the opportunity to be an ambassador for agriculture.

2 thoughts on “Meet Prue Capp who has a proud history in wine, a passion for beef and a career with horses

  1. Pingback: Young Farming Champions go behind the scenes at the Sydney Royal Easter Show | Art4Agriculture Chat

  2. Nice to read about your story and to see you with mum and dad Bill and Pauline who married at Caergwrle 21 years ago and Ellie and Peter kindly organised everything, Terry and myself stayed the night before the
    wedding in your lovely homestead Cawarra Regards Bill and Pauline, Remember us to mum and dad.

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