Representing New South Wales: James Cleaver (29)
James is the NSW 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 James to hear about his journey.
I am from Nyngan NSW, the centre of NSW and the undisputed gateway to the outback! It’s where the black soil meets the red soil and due to this it has a diverse economy of consisting predominantly of broad acre cropping, livestock and mining. It’s has one of the best water-skiing spots in Australia and the home of the worlds Biggest Bogan statue.
My link to agriculture comes from my family property at Nyngan which has been in the family since 1912. We run fat lambs, steer trade and broad acre crop. I was raised there alongside a brother and two sisters. I have worked on properties and in agricultural businesses ever since. From a young age our parents have involved us in conversations and decisions about the farm business, and from this I’ve developed a passion for growing and support rural families and communities.
I’m a real newcomer to the show network personally. I have always attended my local shows, but it wasn’t until winning the Rural Achiever at the Sydney Royal that my real story with local shows began. But the more I get to know the show network, the more I realise my family has always been involved. My grandfather and his sister rode at the Sydney Royal, my father has organised young farmer challenges and my helps organise the Art Pavilion each year. Since then, I’ve joined the Dubbo Show Society and the ASC Nextgen, I’ve got to open shows and judge showgirl competitions. But my favourite opportunity so far was to volunteer as the local ring announcer. I’m slowly working my way to being more involved in shows but I don’t want to be a bull at a gate – I want to learn the ropes and develop from there.
I work at the National Australia Bank in Dubbo as an Agribusiness Manager. I have bachelors degree in economics/law and was admitted to the Supreme Court as a Solicitor in 2016. Prior to banking I have worked on farms, in a general legal practice and for the NSW Department of Primary Industries. I want to continue grow and support the industry and it’s special communities; if I could do that through managing people then that would be the icing on the cake.
I am completely bias, but my favourite show in Australia has to be my own local Nyngan Show. In many ways its like every other show in Australia, it has the pavilions with their exhibitions, it has the livestock competitions, it has the show ring, fireworks, rodeo, sideshow alley and rides. But my favourite thing about the Nyngan Show is the social aspect. There are many people from so many different backgrounds, who dress differently and talk differently – but for two days there all at the show supporting their community, socialising with one another, all in one place. Nothing beats that.
My favourite moment at a show so far, was getting join the announcers at the Sydney Royal Show. I got to tell a packed Sydney Show Ground about my community and agriculture which was in the middle of a record breaking drought. It was terrific to acknowledge my roots and the hardship they were facing at the time, whilst also talking about why everyone should come visit!
Whilst stewarding in the goat section at the Sydney Show, a big nanny chewed on the tail of my blazer as I was holding her, leaving a large green cud stain on the back of my jacket. I had an important dinner straight afterwards so spent 10 minutes in the bathroom furiously scrubbing trying to get the stain and the smell out. I thought I did a pretty good job at that stage. But we went to dinner, and as I was speaking to an important older guest I could tell that she could smell my new ‘goat odour’ as she started raising her nostrils. Before she could work out it was me, I blamed it on another man standing close by with his back turned to us and quickly left the conversation as she continued to judge him for his perceived lack of deodorant.