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Vale Phillip Bielefeld

by Dr John Rich and Edgar Collins, 28 March 2012

A tribute to a life of dedication to the Indonesian feedlot industry

Phil BielefeldPhillip Bielefeld joined PT Santosa Agrindo in October 1994 after an earlier career in the Australian feedlot industry.

At age thirty the keen and enthusiastic “Marlboro” man from Charlton feedlot arrived in Sumatra.

This was at a time when only a few other Australian pioneers had embarked on the feed lotting of live cattle and the industry was still very much in its infancy. He was thrust into a green field operation with the feedlot still in the construction phase.

Phil, a quiet and pragmatic individual, worked tirelessly and used amazing improvisation in his first few months to complete the first stage of what is known as the Bekri feedlot. This early achievement set the stage for many more over the next one and a half decades within the company.

Phil drove the expansion of the Bekri feedlot and its world class operating procedures until a second green field feedlot was established at Probolinggo, East Java. Phil relocated there during the construction of the operation during the turbulent times of the Asian economic crisis and subsequent fall of Suharto. These challenging times and circumstances truly defined the man.

After the successful establishment of the Probolinggo feedlot, Phil relocated to Darwin to build the supply chain of the company under the “Austasia” umbrella. This included the purchase and backgrounding of live cattle at a newly established facility at Katherine. It was here that Phil developed very close relations with the Northern Territory cattle industry; setting Australian roots down and purchasing a unit.

After a few years Phil relocated back to Indonesia and worked on the newly purchased Tippindo feedlot. He set up the first intensively farmed breeding unit in Indonesia, one of the first of its type in the world. Then followed the first cattle feedlot biogas construction at Bekri. After this project was completed he then went on to develop the TOKUSEN Wagyu feeding and breeding program, another first in Indonesia.

During this time he was instrumental in the attaining of the ISO 9001 accreditation for the Bekri feedlot, the first to do so in SE Asia.

After 17 faithful years, Phil made the decision to leave the company in late 2011 rather than relocate to another company operation in Asia . He moved to Queensland where he was about to embark on a
consultancy career.

Phil left behind remarkable achievements very few have been able to attain anywhere in the world. He had a passion for Indonesia, rising to the challenge of working in a developing nation, in far-flung locations with many obstacles. This was testimony to his unswerving dedication and personal sacrifice.

Privately Phil was the true, classic, quiet achiever. He actively developed the knowledge and experience of his staff and was focussed on having a strong succession plan for all the feedlot personnel. He was
highly respected, a true friend and confidant to his senior staff and managers, treating them as his extended family. He had survived numerous life threating experiences during the many years of his tenure with a quiet indifference and attitude that characterized his life.

Phil’s sudden and untimely death has shocked all close to him. He is being mourned by family and friends in both countries . His loss is not only personal; the Indonesian and Australian cattle industry has lost one of the most experienced and valued members from its community.

Phil will be remembered not only for his remarkable accomplishments but for his humility, resourcefulness and compassion.

He is being laid to rest in Nelson’s Bay, near Newcastle on the 30th March 2012.

 

This tribute was written by Dr John Rich and Edgar Collins, the Australian founding shareholders of AustAsia/PT Santosa Agrindo in the early 1990's.

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