Shows aim to involve youth

Brett Boatfield and Lyndy Neal, Darling Downs subchamber delegates at the Queensland Ag Awards. Picture: PAULA BOATFIELD

By Lucy Waldron

In regional communities, agricultural shows stand as celebrations of heritage, culture, and the contributions of the land. Yet, as these events evolve to meet modern demands, the question of their continuity looms large.

Central to their survival is the imperative to engage the next generation, a mission fervently embraced by leaders like Brett Boatfield.

Boatfield, president of the Stanthorpe Agriculture Society and now a director on the board for Queensland Ag Shows and a delegate on the Darling Downs Sub-Chamber of Agricultural Shows, is positioned strategically to effect meaningful change across multiple regional societies.

Recognising the pivotal role of youth in ensuring the longevity of agricultural shows, Boatfield is committed to fostering their involvement.

“I just want to see shows continued and the driver is to make sure that the youth of today get involved so the shows can carry on to the next generations,“ Boatfield said.

With a keen eye on best practices, Boatfield intends to leverage his position to explore innovative strategies employed by other societies, seeking to adapt and implement them within Stanthorpe and the Southern Downs region.

The Queensland Chamber of Agriculture Society has long championed youth engagement, a cause Boatfield hopes to advance within the Southern Downs shows. Established in 2008, Queensland Ag Shows Next Generation embodies this commitment, striving to increase youth participation within local show societies and ensure the sustainability of these beloved events.

One of Boatfield’s aspirations is to reintroduce traditions like the Show Girls and Rural Ambassadors programs at the Stanthorpe Show. He believes that rejuvenating these elements will serve as a catalyst for youth involvement and reignite next generation interest in the event.

“It is a wonderful part of the show and will all start by getting the youth involved again,“ he said.

As he assumes his new roles, Boatfield expresses eagerness to collaborate with his fellow committee members and stakeholders to effect positive change. “I look forward to working with the team and making a difference,“ he said.

For Boatfield and many others in the agricultural community, the ultimate goal is clear: to keep the show movement alive by inspiring and empowering the youth to carry its legacy forward into the future.