Young Guns beef up

SHARING KNOWLEDGE: MLA Red Meat Innovation general manager Alex Ball, local producer Geoff Bush and YavenVale Herefords stud manager James Pearce. Picture: Harrison Vesey

SHARING KNOWLEDGE: MLA Red Meat Innovation general manager Alex Ball, local producer Geoff Bush and YavenVale Herefords stud manager James Pearce. Picture: Harrison Vesey

THE FUTURE of the Australian beef industry converged on Cootamundra this week for the Herefords Australia Young Guns conference.

The conference brought 34 delegates under 40 years of age from around the country to share their experiences and hear from industry experts.

On Wednesday the delegates toured Manildra Meat Company processing plant and Jindalee feedlot.

On Thursday they heard from speakers including Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) Red Meat Innovation general manager Alex Ball and YavenVale Herefords stud manager James Pearce.

Dr Ball said it was “really gratifying” to work with the next generation of farmers, saying he had previously worked with the parents of many people present.

“I’m really excited that I see range of people that do have really strong views on where they need to take the breed,” he said.

“I see a lot of capability within the young breeders, and I think that capability is going to be needed if we’re going to have effective leadership in the future.”

Local organiser Geoff Bush said the highlight of the week was seeing and hearing what the producers got out of the conference.

“They were very positive about the industry and about their time here,” Mr Bush said.

“It was great to see how supportive everyone in town was, especially Manildra and Jindalee. I can’t say enough how appreciative we are for the access they gave us.”

One of the youngest delegates present was Verity Price, 19, from Bannister, north-west of Goulburn.

Miss Price grew up on a prime lamb property but, at just 14 years old, founded Armagh Poll Hereford stud.

She said the conference offered excellent insight into the trends concerning consumer demands, mentioning, for example, Dr Ball’s point that technological adaptations that could soon see “cattle sold on a quality basis and not just a kilo basis.”

“It’s those sort of things we need to be ready for and be willing to adapt to, so that we can sustain both our domestic and international markets with good quality beef,” she said.

Miss Price also mentioned the value of speaking with other producers and sharing knowledge.

“Farmers are famous for not trying anything new, so we learn off each other and we bounce ideas off each other. We’re all young and we’re all trying to do something different that our parents didn’t do.”

Dr Ball’s talk focused on technological advancements, and their immediate and potential future impact on the industry.

He said working with young producers is highly valuable for both producers and MLA.

“I think [the producers] are getting great opportunity for networking, they’re getting great opportunity for looking and sharing different ideas, they’re exposed to a whole range of different thinking from people that work in different areas.

“The key thing for me is we’re equipping them with better confidence to be an active part of the beef industry.”

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