Representing South Australia: Sophie Nuske (19)
Sophie is the South Australian state finalist at the 2021 Agricultural Shows Australia National Young Judges finals held at the Royal Queensland Show. Agricultural Shows of Australia sat down with a young lady from the Eyre Peninsula. Did you know she won the South Australian School-based Apprentice of the Year in 2019?
I am from South Australia on the Eyre Peninsula. Where I grew up on a mixed farming enterprise not far from a little town called Sheringa, which is about 5km off of The Great Australian Bight. It is a unique location with farming land backing right onto the edge of Australia. It is a small farming community comprising of the most caring and helpful neighbours.
I come from a long line of farmers and graziers on both sides of my family and take this legacy very seriously. My parents both grew up on the land in different areas of South Australia, and our family’s history of farming goes back for five generations. I grew up on 12,000 acers of grazing and farming at the property I still call home – ‘Hillsea Station’ in Sheringa, a small, isolated area of the Eyre Peninsula, on the west coast of South Australia.
My parents liked the idea of raising their young family the same way they were brought up on the land. As I grew, I was encouraged to be involved with whatever job was being undertaken. So, when it came to sheep work, if you had two hands, feet and could chase and muster sheep your help was greatly appreciated even – at the tender age of four or five. My father never saw gender as something to hold me back and as I grew up, he gave me the same opportunities to work the livestock as my brothers. From there passion for the agricultural industry especially towards sheep and wool began. That’s when I decided that in Yr. 10 I would move away from home to attend boarding school at Cleve Area School where they offered Agriculture as a subject to study. This is where I began my apprenticeship in undertaking a Certificate 3 in Agriculture. There my journey began into judging at the Royal Adelaide Show.
My link to the Royal Adelaide show first began when I attended Cleve Area School for Yr.10 in 2017. My Agriculture teacher told me about the Merion fleece and ram young judges competitions. From there with no previous experience with show judging, I dived into the deep end and decided to give it ago with using my knowledge I had and putting it into practise.
I completed year 12 in 2019, where the following year (2020) I decided to take a gap year due to being offered an amazing opportunity over in Canada, however, my plans changed dramatically due to Covid-19. Instead, I continued my previous job as a farm hand. From there this lead me to, today, where I am currently attending the University of Adelaide to study the Bachelor of Agricultural Science and pursue my career in Agriculture.
In ten years I would like to be a Livestock Production Advisor to help farmers with their livestock husbandry practises. I would also like to give back to the industry and help those who have a passion as well for agriculture.
Tell us about your link to this competition: When did you start competing? Why did you start competing?
My link to the Royal Adelaide show first began when I attended Cleve Area School for Yr.10 in 2017. My Agriculture teacher told me about the Merion fleece and ram young judges competitions. From there with no previous experience with show judging, I dived into the deep end and decided to give it ago with using my knowledge I had and putting it into practise. That was when for my first time judging merino fleeces, I made it into the top 4 and ended up receiving 2nd place, however, did not do so well in the ram judging. But that did not stop me from entering the merino fleece judging competition the year after in 2018. This was where I made it into the top 4 again and then went to receive 3rd place. Then in 2019 I went back because I have loved testing my knowledge and judging the fleeces. From there this was where I made it into the top 4 and then went to receive 1st place.
The one person who persuade me to get involved in the Royal Adelaide Show Merino Fleece Young Judges Competition was Aleks Suljagic the Cleve Area School Agriculture teacher. However, I would not have be able to undertake this competition without the support of my family, friends and especially Sam Wright, along with Bill and Jenny Nosworthy who took me on as their apprentice and mentored me along the way.