Growing up a ‘townie’ in Waipukurau with her mum and sister, Amy Hoogenboom didn’t think she would ever work in the beef industry. But thanks to an opportunity at school and her love for animals, Amy has spent the last year travelling New Zealand as the 2015 Future Beef NZ Allflex Senior Ambassador, a job she doesn’t take lightly.
“I’m from a non-farming family and have always lived in town with my mum and sister so I got into agri through school – through the Future Beef competition. We competed with school and then the following years, when our school didn’t compete anymore, I continued to take part with a few of my mates.”
Now a third year vet science student at Massey University, Amy first entered the Future Beef Hoof & Hook competition at age 13 and after eight years of competing, took home the coveted title of Senior Ambassador. Although Amy says there aren’t too many enforced responsibilities of a Senior Ambassador, she was lucky enough to win a trip to Australia, sponsored by Allflex.
“I went over to Armidale Australia, which was a great experience. I toured a number of cattle studs and also went to the Angus Australia youth round up. I really enjoyed it and saw it as a chance to get some ideas for our New Zealand show.”
In order to fulfil her role when she got back to NZ, Amy found herself creating her own “criteria” about what it meant to be the Senior Ambassador.
“It’s my belief that the ambassador is someone who supports the growth of the organisation and actively goes out and tells the story of Future Beef. As I don’t come from a farming background, this really has been an excellent way for me to a make a break into the beef industry so I don’t want to take it for granted.”
Funded from her own pocket, Amy has tried hard to get across the country to a number of A&P shows to encourage youth to participate in the competition and the sector. While Amy has enjoyed her time as Senior Ambassador, she is getting ready to relinquish her title at the 2016 Beef + Lamb NZ Future Beef Hoof & Hook competition on Friday 13th in Feilding.
“There are no rules to say you can’t compete the year after you win but generally you go back and help out the judges and help with running and organising events.”
“I’m very excited for [the competition]. I am really looking forward to catching up with everyone. Not competing doesn’t really change my weekend; it will still be a hectic few days. I’m actually helping 3 junior competitors out and providing them with heifers to show thanks to Tony Thompson.”
Tony has been a great inspiration for Amy. As a retired vet and current stud farmer, Tony has passed a lot of his knowledge onto Amy, and she has soaked it all up.
“Tony really got me excited about the industry and the knowledge he has shared with me has been instrumental in my engagement with agri and any success I have encountered. Working with Tony really cemented my idea of being a vet.
So what advice would Amy give to anyone competing for the title this weekend?
“You are there to extend your knowledge and experience of the beef industry so make the most of it. Just relax and enjoy the weekend and remember what you put in is what you will get out.”
2016 Beef + Lamb NZ Future Beef Hoof & Hook competition will take place in Feilding 13-15 May 2016 At Manfeild Park, with participants ranging in age from five to 25 years.