Meet the 2021 Queensland Marsh Rural Ambassador finalists

Queensland Marsh Rural Ambassador state finalists announced

Ekka
This year's competition will welcome nine state finalists.

This year's competition will welcome nine state finalists.

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This year's competition will welcome nine state finalists.

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The Queensland Marsh Rural Ambassador Competition will return to the Ekka in August with nine finalists vying for the state title.

Each year entrants compete at local shows and then at sub chamber finals to represent their region in the state final.

They do not have to be a 'university graduate', they just need to have the desire to stand up for rural Australia, have a basic agricultural and rural knowledge, and be prepared to 'have a go'.

Also read: Find out who was crowned 2019 Rural Ambassador winner

Jessica Kirk

Jessica Kirk representing the Burnett.

Jessica Kirk representing the Burnett.

Show Society: Teebar Show Society

Sub Chamber: Burnett

Currently studying a Bachelor of Commerce, Jessica is proud to assist her family as the sixth generation to work in the family business, J Kirk & Sons Funeral Directors, alongside her parents.

In addition to the rewarding work of her family's business, Jessica has progressed to the position of Departmental Manager at McDonalds Sunshine Coast and is actively involved in her family's grazing operation which has bred Droughtmaster cattle for the past 15 years.

With a passion for her local community, Jessica views shows as an important link to promote local agriculture industries within the broader community.

Jessica is looking forward to meeting likeminded people and taking advantage of the shared knowledge available through the Marsh Queensland Rural Ambassador Awards and the opportunities it provides to state finalists.

Ashleigh Chapman

Ashleigh Chapman will represent Central Highlands.

Ashleigh Chapman will represent Central Highlands.

Show Society: Clermont Show Society

Sub Chamber: Central Highlands

A seasoned horsewoman, Ashleigh has proudly competed on the Central Highlands show circuit with her horses for the past eight years. A former Rodeo Queen, Ashleigh is actively involved in the Clermont Show horse ring.

With her position at Belyando Produce, Ashleigh is constantly broadening her agricultural knowledge which enables her to actively encourage others to live and work in the Central Highlands region, spreading the word about the great benefits her community has to offer.

Ashleigh hopes to share her love of agricultural shows and capitalise on the leadership skills developed through the Marsh Queensland Rural Ambassador Awards experience as a platform to become more involved in the Clermont community.

Ashton Solli

Ashton Solli will rerpesent Central Queensland.

Ashton Solli will rerpesent Central Queensland.

Show Society: Sarina Show Society

Sub Chamber: Central Queensland

Enjoying all things country, Ashton is one to take any opportunity that comes her way including two certificate III's in Agriculture and Plumbing, winning local junior judging competitions and being named the Sarina Miss Showgirl in 2011. She also enjoys crafting with leather, glassware and timber.

Ashton has developed a wide range of skills for which she is justifiably proud. She credits working alongside her father on the family farm and his positive encouragement for instilling in her the drive to follow her dreams and test her capabilities.

With an eye to the future, Ashton is looking forward to exchanging ideas with her fellow Marsh Queensland Rural Ambassador Award finalists to improve her local show and implement sustainable practices for her community.

Lawrence Sehmish-Lahey

Lawrence Sehmish-Lahey will represent the Darling Downs.

Lawrence Sehmish-Lahey will represent the Darling Downs.

Show Society: Goondiwindi Show Society

Sub Chamber: Darling Downs

A familiar face in junior judging competitions, Lawrence developed a passion for exhibiting cattle when he joined his high school show team which has continued to this day.

Stemming from a generational family involvement with agricultural shows and a life growing up on the land, he has recently started a Droughtmaster stud with his partner. Lawrence has obtained a dual degree in Agribusiness/Applied Science, majoring in Animal Production from the University of Queensland. Pursuing further studies, he has recently submitting his Masters thesis exploring weather impacts upon feedlots.

Lawrence is looking to utilitise the opportunities provided by the Marsh Queensland Rural Ambassador Awards to broaden his networks as an aspiring ag leader of the future.

Emily Larkin

Emily Larkin will represent the Near North Coast.

Emily Larkin will represent the Near North Coast.

Show Society: Gympie Show Society

Sub Chamber: Near North Coast

As a member of Gympie's Rural & Regional Women's Network, Emily is passionate about providing a platform for women within the agricultural sector to make their voices heard.

A proud mother of two young children, local practice nurse and volunteer with the Gympie Show Ball and Ute Muster competitions, Emily is also completing her studies to become an Endorsed Enrolled Nurse.

Emily hopes to use her platform as a state finalist in the Marsh Queensland Rural Ambassador Awards to connect people in her community with the local agricultural industries and mentor competitors to pursue local opportunities within agriculture. Emily is looking forward to learning from other agricultural shows how they engage their communities and industry groups and hopes to provide similar opportunities for young people within her community.

Shelby Naughton

Shelby Naughton will represent North Queensland.

Shelby Naughton will represent North Queensland.

Show Society: Herbert River P&A

Sub Chamber: North Queensland

Currently the head stockman for Christmas Creek Station, Shelby has a wide range of skills and a diverse knowledge of the agricultural industry.

Shelby's experience ranges from breaking in and showing cattle to working as a rural supplies store sales assistant, all aspects of general station duties, she has also obtained her Certificate III in agriculture, was Horse Principle for Stanbroke Pastoral Company at various stations in the Gulf and Western Queensland and is skilled at livestock ultrasound scanning and preg testing. Shelby's greatest achievement was winning the Australian Stock Horse Society National Junior Judging Championship at the 2009 Sydney Royal Show.

As a state finalist in the Marsh Queensland Rural Ambassador Awards, Shelby is looking forward to using her rural background and experiences to promote the importance of Australian agriculture and to educate the broader community about the many and varied processes involved in the production of food.

Jasmine Firmin

Jasmine Firmin will represent the South Burnett.

Jasmine Firmin will represent the South Burnett.

Show Society: Nanango Show Society

Sub Chamber: South Burnett

Jasmine's involvement in agricultural shows began in Brisbane through her high school's ag program which sparked her passion for agriculture and regional Queensland. Her love of cattle led her to begin her stud, Nioka Valley, when she moved to Nanango.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Jasmine became a qualified graphic designer and started 'Willow and Pine Studios'. Her business allows her to share her art and designs to create conversations about mental health within rural communities. Jasmine currently works for the Burnett Today as a media consultant where she is able to partner with and promote many local businesses.

Jasmine sees the Marsh Queensland Rural Ambassador Awards as an opportunity to promote agriculture and inspire people in rural communities to speak more openly about mental health.

Georgia Rodgers

Georgia Rodgers will represent the South East.

Georgia Rodgers will represent the South East.

Show Society: Beaudesert Show Society

Sub Chamber: South East

Hailing from the Scenic Rim town of Beaudesert, Georgia gained a place in the Elders graduate agronomist program after obtaining a Bachelor of Agriculture from Central Queensland University. With a keen interest in agronomy and animal nutrition, Georgia strives to use her skills to assist farmers with implementing regenerative practices to improve their businesses. Away from work Georgia enjoys sewing, crafts, cooking and gardening.

Georgia is also involved with the Beaudesert Show, assisting in judging the pastures and field section of the show and conducting a session in the AgEd information day for local school students prior to the show.

Georgia entered the Marsh Queensland Rural Ambassador Awards to develop her interpersonal skills and build professional networks which she believes will assist her agronomy career.

Teri Sommerfield

Teri Sommerfield will represent the South West.

Teri Sommerfield will represent the South West.

Show Society: Charleville Show Society

Sub Chamber: South West

Teri is an active member within the Charleville community being involved with a number of committees which highlight the arts and agriculture, including the Charleville Show.

A rural contractor and small enterprise owner - and part time barista. Teri is also studying a Masters of Ethics and Legal Studies. Teri's main interest in agriculture is business advocacy and highlighting the community benefits derived from agriculture. She believes that agriculture is the key economic driver in most regional Queensland centres, and yet it is one of the most widely misunderstood.

As a Marsh Queensland Rural Ambassador finalist, Teri aspires to encourage the younger generation to engage with issues which face agricultural industries in rural and regional Queensland.

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