Budding farmers steering future of agriculture
STUD cattle numbers for the Warwick Show are skyrocketing as the younger generation steps up, putting their best boot forward.
As the budding farmers come forward to make their mark, it's clear the fervent Southern Downs agriculture community is supported by a young and eager cohort.
With more than 100 head across stud cattle and led steers combined, chief steward Shelley Doyle said the 2019 show would be beating more than five years' worth of numbers.
"The agriculture industry is clearly in good hands,” Ms Doyle said.
"These young kids are coming through and showing up for the future of cattle.
"It's amazing to see that local farmers are raising strong and resilient young guns.”
"Their parents' never-say-die attitude is coming through to the children. Seeing those numbers gives me faith that they will give their whole heart to ag further down the track.”
Ms Doyle said the large head count was thanks to the incredible involvement of schools across the region with Warwick State High School, Scots PGC College, Goondiwindi State High School, Clifton State High School, Downlands College and St Joseph's Nudgee College all bringing roughly 15 cattle each.
The high numbers come as many shows across the state are being left devastated with record low participants.
"It's sad to see that conditions are so bad,” Ms Doyle said.
"I'm so happy people are still willing to put their animals in to compete. It's heart-warming to see everyone is pushing through.”
When reminiscing on the days she used to show cattle at various shows, Ms Doyle said the most drastic difference was the age of the competitors.
"When I was showing, there weren't other young people at all and now there are so many coming through,” Ms Doyle said.
"I think it's because all these kids are putting in so much time and energy at school, where they are getting some amazing opportunities.
"It is so important to keep the young guys interested and invest time into them so the shows keep moving forward.
"If they aren't involved, our shows will die.”
Briony Walker, a Year 9 student from Warwick State High School said she loved being part of her agriculture community at school.
Looking forward to the Warwick Show, Briony said she was "excited and a little nervous” to compete in the junior paraders event.
"It's cool to have so many friends getting involved,” Briony said.
"I have been a part of ag classes for a couple of years and I love the way it teaches all of us a lot of life lessons and about what needs to be done for our future.
"I enjoy learning how to look after goats, sheep and crops. It's what feeds us so we need to respect it.”
Fellow Year 9 student Grace McIlroy said she owed her affinity for agriculture events at the local show to her grandma and granddad.
"It's a family tradition, that's why I'm following through,” Grace said.
"I've always been on the farm and with cattle. I love working with them.
"I know Grandma and Grandad used to show so I just am so proud that I can get the opportunity to get involved.”