Rural

Youth no barrier to Emma's vision

YOUNG GUN: Emma Thompson, the youngest-ever chief steward at the Brisbane Ekka.
YOUNG GUN: Emma Thompson, the youngest-ever chief steward at the Brisbane Ekka. Erin Smith

AT just 17, Warwick's Emma Thompson is the youngest chief steward at the Brisbane Ekka.

What's more, it's the third year the local teen has held the coveted role.

This week she will be overseeing entries, judging and presentations at the RNA's angora goat section.

Taking on the chief steward's role is a challenge this former Warwick State High School student is honoured to accept, even if it means taking a break from her studies at the Australian Agricultural College's Emerald campus.

"It is a fantastic experience, but it's a little stressful and definitely involves a lot of organising."

In fact, organising this year's judges and associate judges was a task that started as last year's Ekka finished.

But Emma is not the type to complain about the commitment, instead describing the experience as a positive way to polish her communication skills.

Arguably though, communicating is hardly something she has to refine: her ability to express herself has helped her win a string of major parader and judging titles.

This year she hopes to continue her success, juggling her steward role with the prime cattle judging competition.

Then there is the 2012 Coca-Cola award she has to accept during the Ekka in recognition of her contribution to agricultural shows.

And somewhere in between she will lend a hand during the junior paraders event, as part of her commitment to supporting those new to the circuit.

"I didn't have much to do with livestock until I started at Warwick High," Emma said.

She credits her involvement and then success with the school team as pivotal to her decision to make a career in the cattle industry.

But this ambitious teenager has set her sights on becoming an embryo technician. She has relished two years of learning both in the classroom and on some of the country's largest cattle stations.

When the Bush Tele caught up with Emma she was just back from time on Northern Australian Pastoral Company's Alexandria Station in the Northern Territory.

"It's been brilliant and my message to other young people would be get involved," she said.

"There are real opportunities for young people, in particular young women, in agriculture at the moment."

Topics:  ekka, emma thompson, youth



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