Passion behind ambassador win

Southern District Harcourts Royal Agricultural Society Rural Ambassador Award winner Brooke Flett checks on her cows at the family farm in Scotts Gap recently. Photo: Nicole Sharp
Southern District Harcourts Royal Agricultural Society Rural Ambassador Award winner Brooke Flett checks on her cows at the family farm in Scotts Gap recently. Photo: Nicole Sharp
Fourth generation dairy farmer Brooke Flett is passionate about all things agriculture.

When she is not in the milking shed, she can be found leading the Thornbury Young Farmers Club meetings as chairwoman of the club, or leading riders around at the Riding for the Disabled centre in Otatara.

Her passion and enthusiasm won her the 2018 Southern District Harcourts Royal Agricultural Society Rural Ambassador Award.

Miss Flett's recent involvement in the Southland Dairy Heifer Competition sparked her interest in A&P shows again, she said.

Her grandfather, Jim, was involved in shows, and she is now following in his footsteps.

Along with the competition, she also attended the Young Farmers' stock judging competition last year, which reignited her interest further.

''I was Reserve Champion at that and went up to compete at Hawkes Bay.''

From there, Miss Flett won a trip to Australia to attend the Adelaide Show, where she will help out with an Angus breeder and learn how other shows run, she said.

Miss Flett was excited about the professional development she will get from the Australian trip, which would all help in her career.

Miss Flett said she entered the award because she enjoyed A&P showsand believed they were great for young people to be involved in.

In her application she had to detail her involvement with the society, her own interests, personal and career goals.

''One part is to understand and have knowledge in your industry, what's happening in your industry and what's happening in general around the world.''

The next part was an interview with a panel which asked questions on equal pay, Jacinda Ardern and what was occurring in Syria.

Miss Flett also had to prepare a speech on the topic ''wealth is not measured by money''.

While it was a challenging task, it had all been enjoyable, said Miss Flett, who now goes on to compete against other district winners at the final later this year.

''The whole thing is about getting us young people involved in the industry and the A&P show movement.''

Shows are still a vital part of the agricultural community, which is one of the many reasons Miss Flett enjoys being involved.

While she loves shows and getting out and about, her heart belongs to her cows on the family farm at Scotts Gap - which is ironic, because she never thought she would pursue a career in agriculture.

She discovered studying politics at university was not for her, and after travelling overseas and seeing the world she headed home to Western Southland.

The end goal was simple: to be running the farm along with her three siblings.

''My parents are very supportive.''

On farm, Miss Flett takes a huge interest in the genetics side of the business and runs the breeding.

In doing this, she has also re-started her grandfather's stud Langskaill.

''We've still got a lot of grandad's cows in the herd and a lot of daughters. It's why I enjoy the stock judging.''

The 850-cow farm split calves, so breeding was a big part of the operation.

She was very excited about seeing the genetics gains being made in the herd and was looking to bred a cow which was capacious, with a beautiful udder, good structure and strength and production as well, she said.

''It takes time, you have to be quite committed ... I'd quite like to breed a few show cows.''

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