Bringing back agriculture

SHOW REPS: Peter Hughes, Steve Briese, Courtney Johnson, Petrina Morse, Lyndon Crosby, Chris Koch, Bronte Gregurke, Neva Trigg, Helga Fleming, Raymond Whillas, Janet King and Kym Cummings at the recent Shows Association AGM.
SHOW REPS: Peter Hughes, Steve Briese, Courtney Johnson, Petrina Morse, Lyndon Crosby, Chris Koch, Bronte Gregurke, Neva Trigg, Helga Fleming, Raymond Whillas, Janet King and Kym Cummings at the recent Shows Association AGM.

The Eyre Peninsula Shows Association is looking to shift the focus back onto agriculture across the region's country shows.

Association secretary Janet King said shows across the Eyre Peninsula would be increasing their agricultural competitions, and giving local school students the opportunity to try their hand at judging.

In coming years local AH&F societies will be encouraged to set up agricultural competitions as seen across the state, beginning with beef cattle competitions at Cummins and merino sheep competitions across the Eyre Peninsula region including Cleve.

The association is in negotiation with agricultural schools across the Eyre Peninsula to get students involved in the shows as young judges.

Ms King said starting a culture of student judges would address a skill shortage in recent years which had proved a barrier to maintaining agricultural competitions.

The move would also benefit the students in their development, giving them skills to enter judging competitions at the Royal Adelaide show or forge a career from judging.

"It opens many, many doors for young ag students," Ms King said.

She said the skills obtained through judging could be a "doorway for the youth to stay in agriculture" beyond working on a farm.

The shows association is also looking to promote greater collaboration between local AH&F societies, with an Eyre Peninsula Shearing Challenge set to bring competitors from across the region in for the 2019 Cummins Show.

Winners of speed shear competitions across the Eyre Peninsula will have the opportunity to compete for prize money at a final in Cummins this year.

"Instead of people standing alone, we're going to try to work together from Whyalla to Port Lincoln," Ms King said.

Ms King said the prize money would help attract people from across the region including in Whyalla and Port Lincoln to get involved in coming years.

She said some shows on the Eyre Peninsula had lost sight of the importance of highlighting agriculture at their events, and it was important to use country shows to highlight local industry.

"At long last Eyre Peninsula shows are starting to wake up that is they want to survive, they need to have some agriculture," she said.

Ms King, also Cleve show president, said future shows could see the introduction of aquaculture displays to highlight the industry to visitors and locals alike.

She said future shows could also see crop plots on display to highlight grain farming in the region.