Next stop nationals

By Michelle Slater

INVERLOCH woman Alexandra Pattinson is ensuring local agricultural shows have a strong future, by including a new generation with fresh ideas to lure more people through the turnstiles.

The 28-year-old was named the Victorian Rural Ambassador at this year’s Royal Melbourne Show, representing the Central and South Gippsland Group and Foster Show.

Ms Pattinson now heads to the national finals in Tasmania in October next year, where she will spruik her involvement on the Foster Show committee.

“Local shows are where people and ideas can come together and showcase a region. Every show has its own unique selling point,” Ms Pattinson said.

“The Foster Show is a very agricultural show, we ensure we can deliver for the community as well.

“The Rural Ambassadors allowed me to put south Gippsland on the map, it’s a beautiful area and I’m so inspired to get the word out about it.”

The Rural Ambassador award recognises young people with an interest in agriculture, and in particular the country show.

Participants are judged on their involvement in their local show, rural knowledge, community involvement, ambitions, as well as style and presentation.

Ms Pattinson had to answer a series of interview questions and deliver a short speech to a panel of judges on how to lure more volunteers into local show committees.

“Everyone had a brilliant take on the topic. I spoke about the need for diversity and transparency and bringing in passionate people,” she said.

“It’s really important that we adapt and step into the contemporary era while still looking back on tradition.”

Ms Pattinson grew up on a Macedon sheep and beef farm before completing a Bachelor of Science and a Masters in Animal Science.

She moved to south Gippsland to take up a job in bio security with Agriculture Victoria, and joined the Foster Show committee as an avenue to meet like-minded people.

One of her highlights was organising the Young Farmers Challenge, which was held at the Foster Show earlier this year with eight teams.

Teams had to plant a tree, roll a swag or put up a strip grazing fence, with one team coming from Melbourne with no agricultural experience.

“This was exactly what we wanted, it was a fun way for people to learn about what we do day-to-day in agriculture and our production systems,” she said.

“My local show empowered me to put on something different for the new generation, it’s important for the older generation to trust younger people to step up.”

Gippsland Farmer

The Gippsland Farmer is a monthly agricultural newspaper reporting on rural news and distributed FREE and direct to an area covering from Cann River through to South Gippsland. For more than 40 years Gippsland Farmer has reported on a range of issues and industries including dairy, beef, vegetables, sheep, goats, poultry, organic farming, and viticulture.