SA Rural Ambassador crown won by Karl Milde

LOCAL LEADERS: 2019 Rural Ambassador winner Karl Milde, Eudunda (middle) and runner-ups Amy Doecke, Angaston and Jacinta Jenkins, Penola. Photo: Supplied
LOCAL LEADERS: 2019 Rural Ambassador winner Karl Milde, Eudunda (middle) and runner-ups Amy Doecke, Angaston and Jacinta Jenkins, Penola. Photo: Supplied

Country shows are part of the heart of a rural community, much like the football or netball club, according to 2019 Rural Ambassador state winner Karl Milde.

The fifth-generation Eudunda farmer, representing the Northern region, wants to foster the show movement in SA.

"There are members of the community that give so much of their time providing so much for families and young people at their local shows and introducing people to what farmers do and what other sections do," he said. "But, it would be good to get more young people involved."

He sees the Eudunda Show, to be held in November, as a "morale booster" for his community, which is experiencing drought, and also hopes to use the show to promote the Black Dog Institute's important work in mental health.

"Mental health is now one of the most debilitating and costly issues Australia faces," Mr Milde said.

"The pressures of not only farming and family life, but expectations from outside sources and on ourselves can place untold silent and unknown distress, sickness, anxiety and depression.

"To be able to promote and encourage people to seek help, and know where to source that help may save lives, and provide support and awareness to those who suffer in silence."

The 24-year-old joined the show committee earlier this year and is busy organising the inaugural Merino ewe hogget competition at their show this year. He hopes to extend it to include a prime lamb competition next year.

Mr Milde, who returned to the family farm four years ago, says he feels privileged to have been named the winner.

"We had a great group of state finalists who would all have been worthy winners, it has been a brilliant experience," he said.

The rural ambassador award - now in its 22nd year - is open to 20- to 30-year-olds, and aims to highlight the importance of youth in country shows and rural communities and develop their leadership skills.

First runner-up was Amy Doecke, Angaston, representing Central region, who is involved in the family's trucking business, Angaston Transport.

The avid showgoer is the coordinator of the successful shearing competition at Angaston Show and introduced a new section to this year's show, a truck show and shine.

She has judged and shown beef cattle at many country shows across the state and is a steward for the Charolais at Adelaide this year.

"Country shows were started to bring the community together and nothing has changed, they are still a great way to showcase agriculture around the regions which is also vitally important," Mrs Doecke said.

The other runner-up was Jacinta Jenkins from Penola, who is the assistant winemaker at Balnaves, Coonawarra.

Mr Milde received $5000, while the two runner-ups each received $1000 from the Show Society Foundation.

The trio will also undertake a United Kingdom study tour next year sponsored by PIRSA.

Rebecca Agnew (South East and Border), Sharna Juett (Northern), Lauren Osborne (Southern) and Nicholas Rodda (Yorke Peninsula) were the other state finalists.

This story was originally published in the Stock Journal as SA Rural Ambassador crown won by Karl Milde