Queensland Ag Shows identifies six emerging leaders

Finalists from Goondiwindi, Oakey, Malanda, Pittsworth, Blackbutt and Fraser Coast

Queensland Ag Shows announced on Sunday the six finalists of the 2021 Emerging Leader in the Queensland Shows Awards.

The awards, in their sixth year this year, are run by the Next Generation committee of Queensland Ag Shows and recognise excellence in the agricultural show movement.

“These awards are about recognising the next generation of leaders in the agricultural show movement,” Next Generation president Kait Shultz said.

The six finalists in the emerging leaders category are from Goondiwindi, Oakey, Malanda, Pittsworth, Blackbutt and Fraser Coast and were nominated by their show society for their demonstrated leadership in the local show community.

Bec Skene (29) was nominated by Pittsworth Show Society for her successes as a chief cattle steward. In the middle of a devastating period of drought in 2020 which saw other shows cancel their cattle sections, Bec was able to attract entries for just over 160 head of cattle in classes from stud cattle to led steers. She nearly doubled that in 2021.

Dale McVicar was nominated by the Goondiwindi Show Society. Despite living in Gympie, 460km away, Dale is a dedicated poultry steward in Goondiwindi and is also chief steward of the Gympie Poultry Club. During his tenure, Gympie’s numbers have increased to 650 birds per show. At both shows, Dale has championed the replacement of the traditional ‘pen and paper’ system with an electronic entry and scheduling processes.

Fraser Coast Show’s nominee is Melinda Wright, president of a show that attracts 20,000 through the gates on show day. Positive new initiatives include a discount book supporting local businesses for show members, a schools outreach program to bolster next generation entries in agricultural competition, the First Little Farmers Club for children and a ten year strategic plan for the showgrounds.

Daniel Meacham (31) is the junior vice president of Oakey Show Society. The livestock buyer leveraged his network to successfully reintroduce a prime cattle show and sale, after a 25 year hiatus,  as well as young judges competition. A total of 76 head of cattle were entered into the show that first year with 75 per cent of the cattle selling the following day averaging above market prices at auction. The young judges competition attracted 28 students from four local high schools in its first year, and both competitions have strengthened since that first year, despite the impact of drought and covid.

Leonie Nichols was nominated by Blackbutt Show Society for her work in stud beef sections of both Nanango and Blackbutt Shows. Leonie is the chief steward of the beef section at Blackbutt taking over from her long time mentor. By all reports, Leonie has run an outstanding stud beef section and sub-chamber young judges and paraders final since she stepped into the role. She was also the first ever Blackbutt Rural Ambassador to reach a state final, and has judged cattle at the Pittsworth show and Redcliffe Show.

Kate Stokes was nominated by Malanda Show. Her involvement began as a child with her family being regular exhibitors in both the cattle and a variety of hall exhibits. She took on a leadership role in 2016 in which year she began organising the Malanda Show Dairy Queen quest and the show ball. Today, Kate is the manager of the show and has been successful in securing grants for the show society.

“These young leaders as worthy of this recognition and are the leaders of the future in their communities and beyond,” Kait Shultz said.

The 2021 judges were Agricultural Shows of Australia chairman Dr. Rob Wilson, immediate past president of the Royal Agricultural Society of New Zealand Geoff Smith, and show ring announcer Lyndsey Douglas.

The Awards will be announced during the Queensland Ag Shows Gala Dinner on Saturday 20th March 2021 at the Roma Explorers Inn to be held in conjunction with the 2021 Queensland Ag Shows Annual General Meeting at Roma Showgrounds.