Wa­gin farmer takes on cru­cial role

Narrogin Observer - - Front Page - Cally Dupe

A third-gen­er­a­tion wool grower with a pen­chant for agri­cul­tural education has been crowned this year’s WA Ru­ral Am­bas­sador.

Luke Hall, 27, farms 3000ha of both crop and sheep at Wa­gin with his fam­ily and wife, Alexan­dra.

Mr Hall said his pitch to the Royal Agri­cul­tural So­ci­ety of WA se­lec­tion com­mit­tee high­lighted the need to change the “pub­lic per­cep­tion of a farmer”.

“What some peo­ple think of is an over­weight gen­tle­man, chew­ing on a piece of straw,” he said.

“To try and turn that im­age around is re­ally im­por­tant.

“My whole pitch was education. Kids should leave school with an un­der­stand­ing of what hap­pens on lo­cal farms.”

Fourth-gen­er­a­tion deer farmer Stephanie Ken­naugh, of Mar­garet River, was run­ner-up this year.

Other WA fi­nal­ists in­cluded Larissa Honey, 27, of Quairad­ing, Court­ney Humphrey, 23, of York and Ju­lia Davis, 25, of Yal­goo.

Af­ter spend­ing his child­hood in Wa­gin, Mr Hall at­tended Nar­ro­gin Agri­cul­tural Col­lege and re­turned to the fam­ily farm in 2007.

Now, he and his wife are set­ting up their future at Glen­downer, a 1000ha prop­erty that is an ex­ten­sion to the Hall fam­ily’s 2000ha farm in Buchanan Hills.

The cou­ple have de­cided to cross their merino flock us­ing Prime SAMM rams to lift lamb num­bers and coun­ter­act the in­creas­ing grain mar­ket volatil­ity.

Mr Hall was nom­i­nated by Wa­gin Agri­cul­tural So­ci­ety and recog­nised for his vol­un­teer work in the com­mu­nity.

It­was the sec­ond ac­co­lade for the wool grower this year, af­ter he was crowned the so­ci­ety’s ru­ral am­bas­sador in March.

The WA Ru­ral Am­bas­sador award is co-or­di­nated by the Royal Agri­cul­tural So­ci­ety of WA and aims to un­earth in­spir­ing young lead­ers in re­gional ar­eas.

As the State win­ner, Mr Hall will com­pete in the na­tional ru­ral am­bas­sador awards in Septem­ber next year. Mr Hall and Ms Ken­naugh at­tended the award pre­sen­ta­tion at Clare­mont Show­ground last week­end.

The event was at­tended by both Agri­cul­ture and Food Min­is­ter Alan­nah MacTier­nan and RASWA vice-pres­i­dent David Thomas.

Out­go­ing ru­ral am­bas­sador Brad Kup­sch, a mixed grain and live­stock farmer from the Al­lanooka re­gion, will at­tend the na­tional com­pe­ti­tion later this year.

Hand­ing the reins to Mr Hall, Mr Kup­sch said he had used the am­bas­sador role to pro­mote agri­cul­ture as a pro­fes­sion.

“I want farm­ers to be viewed with the same pro­fes­sion­al­ism as doc­tors, lawyers and other top-end oc­cu­pa­tions,” he said.

“Not enough credit is given to farm­ers for the good work they do.”

The win­ner will re­ceive $1000 prize money and the chance to take part in an agri­cul­tural-based conference or event.

Pic­ture: Bob Gar­nant

Wa­gin farm­ing cou­ple Luke and Alexan­dra Hall.

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