Posted on : 03 November 2017
The 2017 National Rural Ambassador Competition was held in Melbourne recently, with Emily Ryan representing the cream of the crop of youth in agriculture on behalf of the RAS of NSW. Read about Emily's experience...
"On Saturday 23rd September 2017, my family and I ventured down south to Melbourne for the 2017 National Rural Ambassador Awards.
After our arrival to the wonderful city for the first time, I visited the Royal Melbourne Show. Although the show is reasonably smaller livestock wise- they do not lack in entertainment and engaging youth activities. The show had everything from interactive livestock displays, to a Woolworths Dome and even snow! I was fortunate enough to be able to catch up with the 2017 Victorian Rural Ambassadors, where I tagged along with them exploring the sights of the show. We were also able to go backstage to see where all the important people were, ensuring the show runs smoothly every day and is a safe environment for all.
At the conclusion of our tour, we then sat in a prime position to watch the National finals of the Young Farmers Challenge. Unfortunately New South Wales got a couple of time penalties that pushed them back from first place to second. Following the finals, we attended the Young Farmers Dinner, where we were able to taste test some of the local produce and enjoy a speech from a local producer. This was also an ideal time to network with the other Rural Ambassador state winners and discover their passions and ambitions for their rural communities.
Sunday was interview day! This meant most of us hid away in our room preparing for the daunting half an hour of questions. Instead of the daunting half an hour, I found myself comfortable in the interview room and enjoyed discussing the issues in Rural New South Wales and the positives that inspire me to keep working towards new ideas and continuing to promote youth involvement across New South Wales.
Following the interview, we concluded the finals journey with an announcement dinner. The meal was divine and the company was even better. I had my grandparents, parents and a group of friends attend the announcement dinner. The Victorian State finalist had their on stage interviews followed by our own on stage interviews. After the dreading question following my bio write up on pig catching, I settled into the conversation discussing the agricultural show movement and rural issues affecting communities across the country.
The MC invited all finalists onto the stage and announced the Winner and Runner Up as Justin Matthews and Emily Ryan. This came as a huge shock to me and I was overwhelmed to be the Runner Up National Rural Ambassador of 2017.
For the next 12 months, I look forward to working with Justin to promote youth involvement and the agricultural show movement across the country. I look forward to travelling across the country catching up with friends, exploring country shows and networking with new people, to discover fresh ideas to bring back to New South Wales. I feel that youth are the power of the future and it is now up to everyone to help them stand up and become involved.