Representing Victoria: Grace Calder (28)
Grace is the Victorian state finalist at the 2021 Agricultural Shows Australia National Rural Ambassador finals held at the Royal Queensland Show. Agricultural Shows of Australia sat down with Grace to learn about her decision to dive into agriculture.
I live in Creswick, in the Central Highlands of Victoria. The district is renowned for being ‘spud and spa country’, and is a key part of the Central Victorian goldfields. Famous Creswickians in history include the renowned Lindsay family of artists, and also Prime Minister (1941-45) John Curtin.
While I am from a peri-urban background and have no familial connection to agriculture, I became involved in showing sheep through school, assisting the agriculture teacher at the time to establish a school stud. When I was in Year 12 I started my own stud, then went to uni and did a Bachelor of Agricultural Science/Bachelor of Business. After that I joined Agriculture Victoria and worked in livestock industry development, and have recently moved into a communications and training role in Animal Welfare. Outside of work, my partner and I have bought a farm and are working on growing the stud.
I am a member of the RASV Youth Advisory Committee, Victorian Sheep Show Committee, and Ballarat Agricultural and Pastoral Society. I have judged, stewarded and facilitated sheep and youth competitions at shows across Victoria, and I’ve competed with my sheep at up to 10 shows per year since my stud was established in 2010. I love ‘show talk’, hearing about what innovative and exciting things shows are doing, and connecting volunteers of all ages with great opportunities in agricultural shows and rural communities.
I work in communications and training in animal welfare with Agriculture Victoria. But in ten years time, I’d love to be farming 3000+DSE, working off-farm part time in consultancy/advisory services to agriculture, continuing to create opportunities in regional and rural Australia and raising a family. Oh, and potentially finishing some post-graduate studies, I am considering veterinary science.
In 2013 I was the Runner-Up Victorian Rural Ambassador, and in 2019 I decided to ‘have another crack’ and I was thrilled to be named the Victorian Rural Ambassador. I thought it would be a great way to meet people and become involved in agricultural shows in a different capacity – and it has been!
In the last couple of years, I’ve become quite passionate about training dogs, and have trained my working kelpie to do dog sports, particularly obedience, agility and tricks!
I love Melbourne Show for the atmosphere, ability to connect with the public and share the story of agriculture (not to mention the exhibitor experience is fantastic!). I also love our local shows in the Midland group, for their charming, relaxed nature, and celebration of local agriculture excellence.
My highlights in the show ring? There have been many – success at the Royal Melbourne Show, Victorian Sheep Show and Australian Sheep have all been particularly special. Seeing the culmination of many years of breeding and selection decisions pay off, both for yourself and others, is always a highlight!