From Dagwood Dogs and Prize Dahlias, Sheep Shearing and cattle judging the local show movement is still at fever pitch in Crookwell

I have spent most of my time at local shows either showing cows or horses.

The upper Lachlan Catchment Landcare group was a great supporter of the 2014 Archibull Prize and Crookwell being part of this region their local show was a great opportunity to celebrate their local Archibull Prize 2014 entries, tell the great stories of our sheep, cattle, wool and dairy farmers and meet the locals

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So I jumped in the car last Saturday to join the wonderful Mary Bonet and the Upper Landcare Group in their tent at the Show

Mary Bonet Upper Lachlan Landcare

 The delightful Mary Bonet

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Seeing these wonderful books at our stand created for the Cattle and Sheep industry by the Kondinin Group was blast from the past by showgoer Scott Boyle who help collate them whilst working at Kondinin in WA 

Having had quite a walk to get in the gate I was thrilled to meet Dr Rod Hoare who is the Chief Ground Steward and has access to this great little golf cart- the perfect vehicle to tour the show sites for this little black duck

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 Chief Ground Steward Rod Hoare enjoyed the traditional dagwood dog whilst touring the showground in this wonderful little buggy

First up was the local sheep shearing competition an iconic part of livestock agriculture in Australia. Competitors are judged by the quality of their shearing as well as the speed of the shear. Visit True Blue Australia to find out more

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I took this little time lapse video of the intermediate class won by the shearer at Stand 2

Next up was the pavilion. The photos share the kaleidoscope of colour of the arts and crafts and vegies, produce, flowers, cakes and everything that says the finest of rural Australian local show culture

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I caught up with some ladies working and supporting rural mental health through the Rural Adversity Mental Health program and we had our picture taken for the local paper.

Then Mary introduced me to local member for Goulburn the Hon. Pru Goward who was very impressed with the Archibull artworks of the local schools

Prue Goward and Lynne Strong

Pru was keen to see the 2014 Champion Archibull Prize Winner “Ni-Cow’ and I was only too happy to show here but we seemed to be in a Tony Abbott black spot

Then we had a little tour of the cattle sheds and the cattle judging

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Where we met Ernie Stevenson an early and influential member of the Murray Grey society.

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Back at the tent I met local cattle farmer Ken Wheelwright who is part of the KLR Mastermind Group.

Ken and Lynne

More about Rod, Ernie and Ken in my next post on Clover Hill Dairies Diary

Then it was time to catch up with local Young Farming Champions and former Crookwell Show girls Jasmine Nixon and Adele Offley

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Ah the local show so much to see so little time but thanks to Rob and all the wonderful locals I think managed to fit most of it in

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Then the two hour drive home in the fog and the rain but it was all worth it

Jasmine Nixon says my passion is agriculture and this is my story

Last year when I visited the Sydney Royal Easter Show as always my first port of call was the fabulous district exhibit display. The Southern District display was this magnificent tribute to women in agriculture in their region and right in the centre at the top was a picture of a young lady called Jasmine Nixon.

Jasmine Nixon District Exhibit

Can you imagine how excited the Southern District team was when Jasmine went on to win RAS Showgirl 2012.

Jamsine Nixon bathed in glory

Today Jasmine is our guest blogger

Passion: a strong feeling about something, compelling enthusiasm and positive interest.

What are you passionate about?

My passion is agriculture and I am proud to say I love my beef cows! Every day I know that I am contributing to help feed the world – and I also love what I do. Agriculture is an exciting place to be, yes there are challenges but there are also endless different opportunities within agriculture and that is something I hope to share and encourage a new generation to take on the challenge to help feed the world!

Hi, my name is Jasmine Nixon and I am proud to be the 6th generation to grow up on my family farm “Merryvale” on the Southern Tablelands of NSW. Needless to say agriculture is in my blood and I am very thankful for all the opportunities that growing up on a farm gave me.

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I think I took for granted some of the lessons and skills that I learnt growing up on a farm. Every farm kid learns early on that the animals have to be fed, even if it is raining or snowing outside and the importance of making sure the chooks were locked away at night. We were taught responsibility to look after another living creature when you were given a poddy lamb to look after and we knew where eggs came from. My brother worked out the business side of this and even setup a good little enterprise marketing duck eggs to our neighbours!

Our region is well known for fine wool sheep, prime lamb production, beef cattle and seed potatoes but my family farm is focused on beef cattle production.

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Crookwell – my hometown

My family run a commercial Angus herd and we collect a lot of performance data to help continually improve our breeding program. Both my Dad and Grandfather work side by side every day and the whole family help with cattle work or planting trees in the school holidays. I was very lucky to be close to my grandparents as we all live on the same farm – and I was always renowned for being late for dinner as I was busy discussing cattle genetics at Grandad’s house.

While I was brought up on a beef farm, I had never really considered agriculture as a career, cattle work was just something you did when you lived on a farm. At boarding school, I couldn’t take my pony so I settled on trying my hand at showing cattle with my school’s cattle team as the next best thing. Needless to say, I soon discovered showing cattle was quite different to horses and this set me on a pathway that would open many new windows of opportunity.

The thing I love about country people is that there is always someone there looking out for you, and encourage you along the way. George Reid of Narrangullen Angus, had heard that I had started getting involved with cattle showing at school. George suggested that I attend the Angus Youth Roundup. This “cow camp” looked like fun so off I went in the school holidays. Although I was bought up on a farm, my only involvement with show cattle was at school so I had a lot to learn. The Angus Youth Roundup had both junior competitions and educational sessions for various age-groups and experience levels and introduced me to a lot of new people involved in the cattle industry.

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I guess you could say the rest is history – I continued my involvement with my school cattle team and also started to get experience working for other studs in the industry as my network of contacts expanded. By doing work experience, both on farm and at shows, I learnt the business aspects of breeding cattle and also became more interested in the way our family raised our own cattle.

Jasmine Nixon Melbourne Royal

That’s me on the left with the poddy at Melbourne Show

In 2006, the opportunity came up to purchase some registered stud Angus cows and this has become my little project. My aim was to effectively ‘tailor-make’ bulls to suit our commercial operation so we could achieve greater genetic progress. My small stud has grown and last year registered 40 calves and we have also started selling a few bulls locally as well.

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At the end of high school, I took a gap year and spent 6 months working on a farm in Minnesota USA. Wulf Limousin Farms was a family operation that supported 9 families! They farmed approximately 6,000 acres, growing mostly corn, soybeans and wheat as well as backgrounding cattle on their 20,000 acre ranch in South Dakota. The Wulf family also ran an 800 head herd of registered stud Limousins and sold 300 bulls in their annual sale. Another part of their business model was feeder cattle and they finished approximately 34,000 head of cattle per year through their own and contract feed yards in Minnesota, Iowa and South Dakota. I also got to help prepare their team for the National Western Stock Show in Denver – showing cattle in snow was certainly a new experience and it was amazing to experience one of the biggest stock shows in the world.

My adventure in Minnesota was a wonderful experience and I learnt a lot about farming and raising cattle and also about how many layers to wear when you have to scoop snow out of the feed bunks at 20 below in a blizzard. I learnt to appreciate the challenges and differences in agriculture in a country on the other side of the world and this has greatly broadened my perspective on where Australia sits in agricultural terms on a global scale and the factors that influence that.

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After my stint overseas I returned to Australia and started studying a Bachelor of Livestock Science at the University of New England in Armidale. I really enjoyed my course and the more I learnt, the more I realised the amazing diversity of career opportunities that were out there in agriculture. There is a lot of science, innovation and technology in agriculture today, and I believe that is something that is not shared enough and understood by the broader community.

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While at university I participated in the Intercollegiate Meat Judging Competition. This built on the skills I had learnt while junior judging at shows but instead of judging the animal in the ring, you learnt how to assess market suitability, meat quality and yield in beef, lamb and pork. Getting up early and going to the wholesale butchers to stand in a chiller might not sound like a lot of fun, but I learnt a lot of new skills and a great appreciation for meat science and how the product we grow is presented to the end consumer. It also led me to my current job as a quality assurance and quality control graduate with Teys Australia, based at their beef processing plant in Wagga Wagga.

Working in an abattoir was not where I expected to end up after spending four years at university, but it has taught me a lot more about the beef supply chain and has given me a new perspective on the challenges and opportunities that we face in Australian agriculture.

I have continued my involvement with Angus Youth since my first Roundup, over 10 years ago. It has provided me with many wonderful opportunities including a study tour to New Zealand as well as numerous new skills and friends. I have gained so much from the Angus Youth program that I hoped to give something back and to help keep to program growing so I became involved on the National Management Committee and served as chairperson for two years. Every year this program runs a National Junior Show as well as several international scholarships, junior judging workshops, paraders’ competitions and industry tours. The most exciting part is that the program is run by youth for youth.

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Participants at the 2013 Angus Youth National Roundup

From starting as a novice in the juniors over ten years ago, this year I was Vice-Coordinator of the 2013 National Angus Youth Roundup in Dubbo which was the biggest in the event’s history. We had 207 competitors between the ages of 8-25 and their black (or red) bovines participate in a range of educational sessions, judging and paraders competitions from across the country and New Zealand over the four days of the Roundup. This was a huge feat and I’m glad that I had such a great committee to work with to get the job done! I have gained a lot from my involvement with the Angus Youth program, so it is great to be able to give something back and help grow the program for the future, so other youth can have similar opportunities and build their own passion for our beef industry.

Growing up my family has always been involved in my local country show, so representing my hometown in the Showgirl Competition was a natural progression and also a huge honour to be able to give something back to my community. Making it to the State Final was such an exciting ride and to be then named the 50th The Land Sydney Royal Showgirl was something very special – and I still can’t believe that girl on the front of The Land was me!

Jess Monteith Jasmine Nixon Kate Warren

Jess Monteith, Berry Runner Up, Me and Kate Warren from Dubbo 3rd place in 50th The Land Sydney Royal Showgirl

The Land Sydney Royal Showgirl Competition is not just about representing your local show but also about giving young women the skills and confidence to become ambassadors for our rural communities. For any young women, who have a passion for their rural community I strongly encourage you to become involved in the Showgirl Competition. It has given me the courage and ability to get out of my comfort zone and has increased my awareness of the issues facing regional Australia. It opens up a door to an amazing network of people from all walks of life with a similar passion for our rural communities.

My Showgirl experience has made me acutely aware that there is a strong need for better education of consumers and the broader community in regard to agriculture and the importance of our rural communities and the integral role they play into putting food onto the table around the world.

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2012 State Showgirl finalists with Her Excellency, Governor of NSW Prof Marie Bashir.

Last year I was assisted by the RAS of NSW to attend the Woolworths Agricultural Business Scholarship program. I joined a group of enthusiastic and passionate young people involved in a wide range of agricultural industries from across Australia to embark on a challenge of agribusiness industry sessions from farm succession planning and policy to distribution centres and the retail end of one of Australia’s biggest supermarkets, and everything in between.

Jasmine Nixon WABS

The best part of the scholarship was being in a room with like-minded young people, passionate about agriculture and who weren’t afraid to think outside the box and challenge the status quo. It was also very interesting to fill the gap on the last piece of the supply chain puzzle and gain a better understanding of our consumers. The biggest take home message for me was the need for improved supply chain interaction with our consumers and I strongly believe, while our industries will play a role in this, I too can play a significant part in helping the broader community gain a better knowledge of the commitment of  Australian farmers and many support businesses who partner in our communities to provide safe affordable nutritious food for nation and I hope I can continue to share that story.

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My passion is agriculture and I am proud to say I love my beef cows! Every day I know that I am contributing to help feed the world – and I also love what I do. Agriculture is an exciting place to be, yes there are challenges but there are also endless different opportunities within agriculture and that is something I hope to share and encourage a new generation to take on the challenge to help feed the world!

I have also started my own blog, to help share the story of agriculture from my perspective: http://corner-post-country.blogspot.com.au/

Read Jasmine’s Target 100 profile here

And follow me on twitter @jasminejnixon