Did you know that this year we’re celebrating 20 years of the National Rural Ambassador Award? To celebrate, we’ve been catching up with the 19 individuals who have held the prestigious title since 2001.

There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing the next generation shine in our agricultural shows. For 2004 national rural ambassador winner Ben Drynan, it’s hard to beat the proud dad moment he had when his daughter Charlotte was crowned the Queensland Country Life Junior Showgirl at the local Esk Show in 2019. 

Of course, it’s closely followed by Ben’s own achievements in the show ring. When he took out the title in 2004 he was involved in the family commercial beef cattle operation based at Esk, QLD. He also competed in the Young Judges Competitions, winning both State Titles for Prime Beef and Stud Beef Judging.

In 2021 Ben’s a father of two, Charlotte and Harrison, and is still involved with the beef industry. He operates Gallanani Grazing Pty Ltd based at Esk in the Brisbane Valley. The family-owned business specialises in breeding market-relevant commercial and seedstock cattle and focuses on adaption and implementation of regenerative farming and grazing practices.

Ben said the rural ambassador program opened up many doors to industry bodies and roles within the agricultural show movement. 

“Entering The Rural Ambassador Program has been a life changing experience with the opportunities that it provided me with,” he said. 

“Over the years I have held a director position with the AgForce Cattle Board, and have held leadership positions within the local community, being the President of the Esk Campdraft Assn Inc and the Esk Show Society. I am still actively involved within these organisations.

“The most memorable elements of the competition were the opportunity to meet various members within the Agricultural Show Movement and the mentorships they provided me with which continued into industry representative organisations such as AgForce.”

The program has certainly evolved over the past 17 years. Ben recalls fondly being offered a helping hand to get to agricultural shows across the region. 

“At the time I won the title there was no sponsorship for the program and I distinctly remember one of the judges on the panel Mr Joe Wallman from The Land Newspaper offering $1000 to the winner to assist me in fulfilling the role to travel to Agricultural Shows,” he said. 

“ It is so pleasing to see how this competition has grown and the experiences that are now provided to the winners.”

He thanked wife Megan, Mr Richard Pietsch, Mr Gilbert Lange, Mr Ritchie O’Neill, and parents John and Estelle Drynan for supporting him throughout the experience.

Today, Ben loves nothing more than watching his children find their own path in the show ring. 

“Our children have successfully competed in Agricultural Shows in the Horse section at both local levels and at Sydney Royal and Brisbane Royal shows. They have also successfully competed in the Young Judges competitions.”