Rural Ambassador program brought a storm of opportunities

Rural Ambassador program brought a storm of opportunities

Life & Style
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James Cleaver says there were opportunities at every turn after being chosen as the 2019 NSW Rural Ambassador.

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The 2019 NSW Rural Ambassador, James Cleaver.

The 2019 NSW Rural Ambassador, James Cleaver.

Is there anything better than hearing rain on the roof?

Or the smell that rolls in 10 minutes before a thunderstorm?

We all love rain for obvious reasons and let's hope this small break gets bigger in the next few months.

Rain equals opportunity and options. It's the tangent to allow things to grow to their full potential.

Being chosen as the 2019 NSW Rural Ambassador was a lot like receiving torrential rain across a property. The opportunities suddenly started popping up everywhere.

I went from the young solicitor talking to grandmas about their wills and estates - to making keynote speeches about agriculture to the NSW Governor.

Green shoots have kept springing up since.

I have a (possibly naive) belief that I can mix it with anyone; from CEOs to politicians - the Rural Achiever Program really has introduced me to a whole new audience of leaders in the agricultural space.

Agriculture is my passion - but believe it or not, I'm not that fascinated by burning diesel, nor am I inspired by a fat steer's rump.

For me, it's about the people and the sense of community in rural areas which keeps me passionate about our great industry.

James Cleaver will represent NSW at the postponed National Rural Ambassador Competition next year.

James Cleaver will represent NSW at the postponed National Rural Ambassador Competition next year.

Central to this social theme are our country and royal shows.

I love supporting the underdog and rebuilding past points of pride.

That's why the highlight of my year was the Bourke Showgirl competition and dinner.

With promoting western NSW being a passion of mine, it was great to be invited to judge the Bourke Showgirls.

The show had been cancelled over the past two years due to drought, so it was really important to recognise and acknowledge the area and what it has to offer.

Bourke's Showgirl entrants did their town proud, as did the organisation with a very ''entertaining'' dinner and hospitality shown.

From way out west to the far east coast - I have had the opportunity to see the best of our state's agricultural shows.

What has impressed me most is the volunteer attitude, the proud history of our shows, the inviting nature of the communities and the dedication to building even better events into the future.

In a difficult year of drought, fire and COVID-19, the commitment of the people behind our shows has been inspirational. Long may it continue and grow.

There is no doubt that agricultural shows have taken a massive hit in recent times due to climatic and biological circumstance, most people would not have seen these challenges since WWII.

But in the positive hashtag age of #buyfromthebush and #bringyouresky, could #showyoursupport be the next positive revival story on the cards?

What has impressed me most is the volunteer attitude, the proud history of our shows, the inviting nature of the communities and the dedication to building even better events into the future. - James Cleaver

So, I have two challenges for readers. In the short term, please remember that "social distancing" should actually be called "spatial distancing".

Remember that whilst in physical isolation we need to be more socially connected than ever before. Switch off the negative television news at night and check in on that neighbour or friend up the road with a simple phone call.

In the long term, when the dust finally settles from the hectic year, make that effort to rebuild and get involved in your local show or event.

I know we're all busy, but we all need to fight to keep our communities' social fabric alive. Your support could be shown by simply walking through the gate at the event.

Don't let this be another blow to our great rural communities, let's rise to the challenge.

Finally, I have been given the opportunity to represent NSW at the postponed National Rural Ambassador Competition next year.

It's an honour and I hope I can do our state proud. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the RAS, ASC and The Land for their support and guidance this year.

I will endeavour to repay this support in all my future endeavours.

My journey really started by filling out a simple application, but I've reaped so many rewards since.

If you're a young rural person looking for an opportunity to kickstart your career - look no further than applying for the Rural Achiever Program in the future.

Sometimes you've just got to plant the seed and wait for the rain to come.

Aa

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