Young Gippsland farmer Sophie Crooke has become the first Vic winner in the National Rural Ambassador award in its 17-year history.
The 25 year-old who was selected from six state finalists and a New Zealand rep at the finals held at the Royal Adelaide Show says it was “highly unexpected”.
“I am just in awe of how incredible everyone else has been and I have learned so much from them,” she said.
“It was a real eye opener for me to come to Adelaide and see how that was run and to continue my journey to get more youth in ag throughout Australia not just my hometown.”
Ms Crooke and her husband run a beef cattle and cropping property, the Holey Plain, and are aiming to start their own grassfed beef brand next year.
She is also a lab technician with local oil and gas company, Esso.
Country shows have been a big part of Ms Crooke’s life, especially her local Sale Show where she is now the junior vice-president.
She grew up showing horses and showjumping and also established the Young Farmers Challenge in 2016 after seeing it at the Royal Melbourne Show.
“I saw all these young agriculturally-minded people having a great time and I thought we need to bring some of this back home,” she said.
The runner-up was WA farmer Luke Hall from Wagin who is the head beef cattle steward at Wagin Woolarama but has been volunteering with the show for the past decade.