For 20 years the National Rural Ambassador program has aimed to provide young people with an opportunity to promote rural Australia; and to discover and recognise the next generation of young rural leaders.

The 2021 national finals will be held at the 2022 Sydney Royal Easter Show after this year’s Royal Queensland Show, The Ekka, was cancelled due to COVID uncertainty. 

The Agricultural Shows Australia Rural Ambassador National Finals competition is the culmination of a series of competitions which take place each year throughout Australia. Local shows applicants proceed through to regional level, then state-based competitions and ultimately to the national finals.

As we eagerly await Sydney Royal 2022, we caught up with each of the National Rural Ambassador finalists to  celebrate their enduring commitment to their communities and learn a little more about them.

Karl Milde, Eudunda, SA

Growing up on the family farm with three older brothers, Karl Milde can’t imagine being anywhere else. While he’s lived and worked in other regions over the years, the 26-year-old’s heart belongs in the small country town of Eudunda. 

Since returning to the family property, Karl has doubled the size of the enterprise and is passionate about taking steps to ensure its sustainability. He’s also committed to driving support for mental health awareness in the farming industry and rural regions. 

Having experienced mental health battles himself, it’s an area Karl is passionate about – so much so that he ditched the clothes and joined The Naked Farmer in 2020 during the South Australian tour. The social media campaign takes a unique approach to breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health. 

Karl also founded the show’s inaugural Merino Ewe Hogget competition, which he says was ‘fantastic to get people enthusiastic about something during the current drought’. 

Next on the cards for the Eudunda Show are two more attractions he picked up from a trip to Adelaide Royal.  Karl aims to replicate the food and wine section to promote local produce, and is also creating a Golden Grains stall to educate young people about where and how their food is made. As the show committee’s vice-president, Karl plans to transition into the president’s role in 2022 and continue his strong involvement. 

He’ll have the full support of the Eudunda Show committee, who were the driving force in his participation in the Rural Ambassador program. 

“I am driven to do as much as I can to justify being approached and to make them proud. We have an extremely good committee at Eudunda and I strive to continue to develop it and myself, which will in turn, develop and improve our overall community.”