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No beef about going bush

TAKING NATIONAL STAGE: Allora’s Kate Shooter (pictured with her stud heifer Dalrymple Lady) is one of six youth ambassadors selected to represent Herefords Australia in a role designed to promote the breed at shows and sales nationally.
TAKING NATIONAL STAGE: Allora’s Kate Shooter (pictured with her stud heifer Dalrymple Lady) is one of six youth ambassadors selected to represent Herefords Australia in a role designed to promote the breed at shows and sales nationally. Toni Somes

SHE is one of the first ambassadors in a new program encouraging young people to become involved in the cattle industry.

But the reality is Kate Shooter was always going to make agriculture her business.

The 18-year-old from Allora is one of six young people from across the country named in the new Herefords Australia Youth Ambassador Program, designed to encourage young people to become involved with the breed.

It's been a steep learning curve and I find it pretty stressful, but I think being so involved in junior judging and paraders I am used to things like public speaking and it has improved my confidence.

The six have been selected for a 12-month term by the group's youth committee and the Herefords Australia Board.

Their role is to help with shows and sales, including the 2014 Herefords Australia Youth National Heifer Show in Bendigo, promoting the breed to the next generation of cattle producers.

 

Herefords Australia youth committee president Tom Green said the six represented the future of the industry.

"It is important we do everything we can to nurture their talent," Mr Green said.

Herefords Australia director Scott Hann said the ambassadors were selected for their enthusiasm and knowledge about the breed and wider beef industry.

"This program aims to equip these young Hereford ambassadors with the right tools to make a difference in all aspects of their lives, including on-farm, off-farm, in family, personal and business-related areas," Mr Hann said.

For Kate, who is in the first year of Bachelor of Rural Science degree at the University of New England, involvement in the ambassador program is an honour and an opportunity.

"To come from Queensland and make it into the ambassador program was pretty good considering there are so many Hereford operations in New South Wales and Victoria," she explained.

"So I am looking forward to it."

The local teenager has been a member of the Hereford Queensland Youth Association for two years and is the organisation's secretary.

However her involvement with the cattle industry dates back to her early childhood.

"My dad, Ted, started breeding Herefords when he was a boy," she explained.

"And then dad and his mate Steve Hayward got involved in showing them and junior judging and as I grew up I did the same.

"At first I just used Dad's old stud cows and then Tom Nixon from Devoncourt Herefords helped me get started by letting me pick a cow and calf out of his first calf heifers."

She has shown her own cattle successfully and become a well-known figure on the south-east Queensland junior judging circuit, both individually and as a secondary school student with the Scots PGC College cattle team.

At 16 she won the Darling Downs junior judging title, an achievement which had her competing in the under-25 division at the Brisbane Royal National Show.

That year she was the youngest competitor in the event.

Today she has changed position in the show arena and taken up the challenge of organising events like the Pittsworth Heifer Show.

"It's been a steep learning curve and I find it pretty stressful, but I think being so involved in junior judging and paraders I am used to things like public speaking and it has improved my confidence."

She divides her time between full-time university commitments in Armidale, with helping out on her parents' (Ted and Kerri) 600ha farming property west of Allora.

"My family are predominately grain growers, but we do have a small commercial herd and I have 10 stud cows of my own."

This season her experience in the beef sector has been favourable.

"I have had an okay year, I sold three head - of heavy to mid-weight heifers and steers - through Warwick Saleyards recently and got $2/kg, $1.95/kg and $1.90/kg."

"So I was pretty happy with that."

And while she has happily accepted the responsibility of being a Herefords Australia Youth Ambassador this capable young women never really needed any encouragement to stay in the bush.

"I love the lifestyle and the fact there are so many opportunities in agriculture nowadays.

"I think you just have to be committed to what you are doing and build your own future."

The other inaugural Herefords Australia Youth Ambassadors are fellow Queenslander Kate Reid, Millmerran; Brandon Sykes from Longford, Victoria; Jemma Welsh-Robertson, from Goulburn, NSW; Sam Bush, from Cootamundra, NSW; and James Forsyth, from Wallabadah, NSW.

One of the six will be named Ambassador of the Year.

Topics:  cattle livestock queen of the paddock rural lifestyle rural women tree change women in agriculture