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Royal encounters: Farmers welcome prince

HOT TOPICS: 2013 Australian Young Farmer of the Year Nigel Corish, from Goondiwindi, got to speak to Prince William in Brisbane.
HOT TOPICS: 2013 Australian Young Farmer of the Year Nigel Corish, from Goondiwindi, got to speak to Prince William in Brisbane.

PRINCE William surprised Queensland farmers with his knowledge of their plight and his view on infrastructure to guard against extreme weather events.

Nigel Corish, from Goondiwindi, said he was among a group of six farmers from rural Queensland who had the rare opportunity to speak to the Duke of Cambridge at a special reception in Brisbane.

The Australian Young Farmer of the Year 2013 said the Duke seemed "very interested in the drought and the challenges farmers face in Queensland".

"I spoke about being a young person involved in agriculture, the challenges we face as young farmers," he said.

"We talked about the extremes, either flooding or drought, because he was here back in 2011 when it was flooding and obviously now we've experienced drought.

"We got onto talking about infrastructure and what farmers need to really prepare themselves for extreme environments.

"His view is that we need to spend money on infrastructure to get by during the hard times.

"He was very engaging; showed a lot more interest in agriculture than I would ever have imagined.

"There were guys from Longreach and Charleville and they are still experiencing drought so it was really good for the Duke to speak to them and realise how hard it is and how challenging it is out there for them."

Carla Roberts, from the Queensland Merino Stud Sheepbreeders Association, said Prince William seemed to know his stuff about merinos too.

"He met a breeder down south who had one of the super fine merino rams so he just commented on how important they were to the economy," she said.

"He also commented on the wool being so soft

"George has a wool blanket so he thinks that's pretty cool."

Ms Roberts, who grew up on the Victoria Downs stud near Charleville, said she did not speak to wife Catherine but admired them both.

"She's stunning, very poised, classically beautiful," she said.

"The way they focus on all the different individuals is really quite lovely.

"They engage them in their particular area and show a lot of compassion and warmth."

Topics:  agriculture prince william royal tour