WHAT do you get when you cross a professional alpaca shearer, ag science and veterinary students, and a horse-loving medical graduate?
The best dang youth farmer team in the state, that’s what.
A quartet of young aggies from Wagga Wagga has taken out the 2018 NSW Young Farmer Challenge at the Sydney Royal, running a gauntlet of farming theory, safety, and physical feats to smash the pentathlon-style event.
Even though they scraped into the finals, Emma Gorman, Paige Mazoudier, Georgie Milne, and John Dawson will now go on to represent NSW at the national titles in 2019.
It was a close final which saw a team from Berry finish in second place, and Camden and Albion Park round out the top four.
Wagga team member Ms Gorman, 24, has just finished her medical degree through UNSW and is working at Wagga Base Hospital.
She grew up around horses on her parents’ property outside Scone.
“We were pretty surprised that we won it, definitely not something we expected,” she said.
“We actually weren’t even meant to be there because another team won the Wagga challenge, but they couldn’t make it to Sydney.”
Ms Gorman said her team divided the challenges according to their individual strengths.
“Because of my training with uni, I took the first aid challenges. We had another girl who does meat judging, so she did the one where we had to identify the different cuts of meat.
“We had other tests like identifying types of weeds and hay, putting out a fire, marking a lamb, and personal safety equipment.”
Ms Gorman said the sole male member of the team, Mr Dawson, shears alpacas professionally, while Ms Mazoudier and Ms Milne are studying vet science and ag science respectively.
The 2019 national Young Farmer Challenge final will be held in Queensland.
Meanwhile South Australia were crowned national champions for 2018 at the Sydney Royal, beating NSW and Victoria to the prize.