This article originally appeared online for Sheep Central

Agriculture Victoria has scooped the pool at the 2019 Victorian Agricultural Shows Rural Ambassador titles at the Royal Melbourne Show.

Ballarat-based livestock extension officer Grace Calder, 26, won the prestigious title at the weekend on her second attempt, and Wodonga-based animal health officer Jordan Hoban, 27, was runner-up.

Grace is a technical specialist, sheep electronic identification with Agriculture Victoria based at Ballarat, where she works to strengthen biosecurity, traceability and improve the flow of information through the sheep supply chain.

But her commitment to agriculture outside her workplace gained her the coveted ambassador title during judging at the show.

Grace is an active committee member for the Victorian Sheep Show, and the Ballarat Spring Show Sheep section. She is also a successful sheep exhibitor with her Kinatura Corriedale stud and is a highly-regarded sheep judge.

She has a Bachelor of Agricultural Science and Bachelor of Business as well as a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. She has also recently completed the Foundations of Directorship with the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Despite not coming from a rural background, Grace and her partner David have purchased their own farm to grow the stud and their farming business.

“I passionately encourage young people to get involved in agricultural shows as a gateway to experiencing agriculture and rural communities.

“This is a great honour and recognition that young people not only believe in showing the best agriculture has to offer, but also in the future of the industry,” Ms Calder said.

“It’s an incredible honour to be selected to represent Victoria at the National Final and I just hope I can use this platform to inspire other young people to get involved with their local show and really make a difference in our agricultural industries,” she said.

Jordan works for the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions at Wodonga and is currently involved with the implementation of Victoria’s nation-leading sheep and goat electronic identification program.

She is an active member of the Wodonga Show, assisting with eight sections and also spends her ‘spare time’ at a local primary school training two heifers and teaching children how to show cattle.

Jordan was raised on a cattle property, and it was her love of cattle that led her into the show ring and inspired her to pursue a career in agriculture. She completed her Animal Science Degree (Hons) at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga and then worked for two years as a Meat Science Technical Officer at the NSW Department of Primary Industries in Cowra, NSW, before joining Agriculture Victoria.

Jordan was a member of the 2013 Australian Intercollegiate Meat Judging team, won the individual award at the 2013 National Merino Challenge, was a 2015 LambEx ‘Young Gun’ and a 2016 Royal Agricultural Society Rural Achiever finalist.

Jordan is also an active member of the Wodonga Show, assisting with eight sections and also spends her ‘spare time’ at a local primary school training two heifers and teaching children how to show cattle.

The Royal Melbourne Show awards promote and encourage young people living in rural and regional Victoria, and highlight community and show involvement, talent, creativity and ingenuity of young Victorians. Jordan Hoban works for the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (Agriculture Victoria) based at Wodonga and is currently involved with the implementation of Victoria’s nation-leading sheep and goat electronic identification program.