FOUR young Western Australians will represent their State as dairy cattle paraders and judges at the Sydney Royal Easter Show next month.
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Sam Cox, 16, Stratham, will represent WA in the national young dairy judges championship at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.

Jai Thomas, 19, of Perth and Jaxon Micallef, 17, from Yarloop are finalists in the national dairy cattle parader competition.

Tanille Hughes, 18, of Harvey and Sam Cox, 16, from Stratham, are finalists in the national young dairy judges championship.

Both national competitions, open to dairy cattle paraders and judges aged 15-25, are run by Agricultural Shows Australia and the four local competitors qualified through successes at local regional shows and the Perth Royal Show.

The national championships are held at a different location each year, with Sydney Royal Easter Show – in its bicentenary year – chosen to host the 2022 championships.

Finalists who were unable to compete at Ekka, the Royal Queensland Show, last year due to COVID-19 cancellation, will also compete at Sydney this year.

Mr Thomas said growing up on Murdoch University’s farm, where his father is farm manager, since he was two-years-old exposed him “to a huge amount of agricultural experiences that the ordinary person living in Perth wouldn’t have had”.

Nineteen-year-old Jai Thomas, Perth, will represent Western Australia in the national dairy cattle paraders competition at the Sydney Royal Easter Show next month.
 Nineteen-year-old Jai Thomas, Perth, will represent Western Australia in the national dairy cattle paraders competition at the Sydney Royal Easter Show next month.

“I started competing at the age of four by leading around Murdoch University’s dairy Illawarras in the show ring with my brother,” Mr Thomas said.

“My brother slowly lost interest in showing cattle but my interest kept strong as my dad took me under his wing and taught me everything he could teach me about showing cattle.”

Ms Hughes said one of her favourite moments in the show ring was at Brunswick Agriculture Show, when she was in her first year at the WA College of Agriculture, Harvey.

“I placed first in my handlers’ class, where I was up against two people,” she said.

“From there, I competed in the grand champion class which I won and became the youngest person from Harvey Ag to win this title.

“Another great moment was winning the State title at the Royal Show, it was a chance to redeem myself from my previous show where I failed hard,” she said.

Ms Cox, who also attends the WA College of Agriculture, Harvey and judges sheep as well as dairy cattle, said she grew up on a small farm “with a few cows” on the South West coast.

“(But) it wasn’t until I was about nine that I started helping out at a friend’s dairy in the calf shed,” Ms Cox said.

“From there I became interested in the dairy industry as a whole and began showing cattle at the local shows.”

As one generation of dairy farmers see retirement on the horizon, who are the next generation farmers taking over the responsibility of feeding the world?

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