A central New South Wales contestant has taken out two new categories at the Agricultural Shows Australia (ASA) judging competition event. Michelle Fairall, of Harden, took out both the Grains and Soils Young Judges trial. These new judging competitions mark an expansion for ASA. Katie Stanley, executive officer with ASA, said she hoped the new competitions would help expand young judging competitions across Australia. "This year the events were run as demonstration competitions, we'll definitely have grains in officially next year and we're hoping to have soils as well, although logistically there is a little more work behind getting that up and running." "They're both great competitions and attracted interest from a number of different states." Ms Fairall said it was good to participate in a different form of show judging, something she had always been interested in. "I went to my local show when I was younger and was encouraged to go in all the competitions I possibly could," said Ms. Fairall, sharing her background. "What's wonderful about the competition is that it's a valuable networking opportunity, and if you make a mistake, you don't get judged for it; you get pointers on how to improve." ASA, the peak body for Australia's 572 agricultural shows, set up the Grains, Oilseeds, Pulses and Soils Learning Program to give young people aged up to 25 the opportunity to learn about soil quality and its importance to the entire agricultural sector. It is encouraging local shows to host the competitions within the newly developed guidelines and "how to guides"; and helping the royal shows and state bodies host finals. A grant of $3,000 is available from ASA to royal shows and state entities to kick-start state-wide competitions relating to grains, oilseeds, pulses and soils. The project is jointly funded through Agricultural Shows Australia, and the Australian Government's National Landcare Program. The Primary Industries Education Foundation Australia is partnering with the initiative as it is rolled out across Australia. Ms Stanley said both grains and soils were fascinating topics, quoting statistics such as the fact that just one teaspoon of soil boasts more living organisms than there are people in the world.