AFTER almost a decade as Nowra Show’s chief cattle steward, Peter Cowman has handed over the reins to local cattleman Alan Garratty.
With his fitting surname Mr Cowman always felt it was appropriate he was in the cattle section.
However there is more than the name behind his background in cattle.
His parents owned a dairy farm on Comerong Island and he has always had ties to the land.
His work as an agricultural consultant in Nowra provides a link between his working life and the show society.
In 2004 he took over the cattle section stewardship from the late Albert Muller.
On his watch Mr Cowman oversaw the reintroduction of the grand parade after a long absence and the celebration of 50 years as the Holstein Feature Show for the region.
Following an unfortunate experience in 2005, he introduced the idea of having a reserve judge on standby.
While there was plenty he has enjoyed about being chief steward, having a reserve judge came from what might be one of his worst experiences in the role.
“In about 2005 the Holstein judge who was from Tamworth didn’t arrive,” Mr Cowman said.
“Fortunately livestock judge David Mayo was in attendance as a spectator.
“We had a quick chat, I lent him my tie because cattle stewards always wear a tie, and he stepped into the role.
“Since then we have always had a qualified judge in reserve in case that situation recurs.”
Mr Cowman said the social aspect, seeing farmers and getting together for a chat and a laugh, was what he enjoyed most from the role.
“Having a face-to-face chat about milk prices or the weather rather than by email, that is important for a community,” he said.
He also enjoyed the grounds, which have now become a sought-after location for wedding ceremonies.
“The show is a chance for dairy farmers on Friday and beef on Saturday to have their stock assessed by an experienced judge.”
Mr Cowman said the late Tom Newing and the staff at AJ Campbell and Son, particularly Peter Harris and Stuart Warden, have been great support to him over the years. He also thanked Alan Garratty for his support.
Mr Garratty, who was deputy chief steward, looks forward to his role as chief at this year’s show.
“I’m very pleased to see Alan become chief. He has spent his life in the dairy industry and is highly regarded for his knowledge,” Mr Cowman said.
Mr Garratty expected this year’s show to be strong.
“The cattle committee has worked hard to increase the prizemoney this year, which helps attract farmers because it can be expensive to bring cattle to a show.
“The cattle show is important from a professional point of view because doing well in the show helps to market cattle,” he said.
Mr Cowman will continue his association with the show, becoming chief steward of the added area.