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Beef 2018 mentoring program an investment in the future

by Jon Condon, 25 June 2017

THE recipe: One part youthful exuberance, enthusiasm and optimism; and one part wisdom, tempered by experience. Mix well.

It’s a powerful cocktail, and the results were on show in Brisbane last week when the cohort of participants involved in the Beef 2018 Beef Connections Mentoring program got together for the first time.

The Graeme Acton Beef Connections Mentoring program, named after the much-admired Queensland cattleman, is about developing the skills of young beef industry stakeholders by providing training and personal development opportunities, using a mentor to help them achieve their goals.

Graeme Acton, who died after a campdraft accident in 2014, was renowned for supporting young people in entering the beef industry and generously sharing with them his extensive knowledge.

Beef Central had the chance to engage with many of the 2018 cohort during a program launch in Brisbane last week, and the sense of excitement and anticipation among the young people involved was palpable.

“The program is a great opportunity for this group of young people to develop their skills and knowledge, which will enable them to become more effective in their current role in the beef industry,” Beef 2018 chief executive Denis Cox said.

“The Rockhampton Expo event itself is active for only five or six days every three years, but this is one way that Beef Australia can fill an industry role, right throughout the years in between,” he said.

The 2018 Beef Connections Mentoring program attracted more than 30 applicants from across Australia, with seven young people, 35 years or younger, chosen to participate.

Each has been paired with a mentor, who has proven leadership skills in agricultural industry and will support participants to achieve their personal development aspirations. Each of the protégés has developed a project around which they will focus their attention with the help of their mentor.

They will each deliver a final project report during an event at Beef 2018 next May.

Mentors, protégés and program supporters getting acquainted at last week’s launch – from left, Julie McDonald, Greg Chappell, Jenny Acton, Peta Ward and Josie Angus.

“The quality of the applications received this year was outstanding across the board, making it a tough task to separate candidates for the spots on offer,” Beef Australia chair Blair Angus said.

“A core goal of Beef Australia is to act as a platform to build the capacity of the national beef industry, so it is particularly pleasing that the successful applicants are from all parts of the country and currently have roles at various points along the length of the beef supply chain,” he said.

Mentors and their protégés will now engage on a regular basis, and the young participants will interact on a fortnightly basis via web-conferencing.

This year’s participants (with their mentors listed beside them in brackets) are:

  • Anna White, Mudgee beef producer and university student, who will explore rumen function (mentor: Qld seedstock producer David Greenup)
  • Stewart Moroney, Gippsland producer and butcher (mentor: Brett Kelly, CEO Norco)
  • Bede McAlpin, Arcadian Organic, Toowoomba (mentor: beef exporter, Richard Rains)
  • Ella Paine, Longreach Pastoral College (mentor: Qld beef producer Steve Taylor)
  • Hamish Lamond, Moolooloo Station, NT (mentor: seedstock producer Greg Chappell)
  • Annabelle Butler, student at UQ Gatton, from Croppa Creek NSW, who is exploring more effective provision of performance feedback on feeder cattle (click here to see Beef Central’s report last week) (mentor: Julie McDonald, MDH)
  • Jim Teasdale, live exporter, Geelong Vic (Mentor: Ken Rich, retired agribusiness owner and manager).

Here’s a quick snapshot covering a few of this year’s participants, and what they hope to achieve (click on images to enlarge):

Hamish Lamond is head stockman on Heytesbury Pastoral Co’s Moolooloo station, in the NT’s Victoria River district, running about 22,000 cattle. Originally from WA’s wheat belt, his chosen topic focuses on risk management surrounding northern Australia’s heavy reliance on a single market outlet – live export.

His mentor, respected NSW seedstock producer and genetics advisor Greg Chappell, is regarded as an innovator and strategic thinker in the genetics industry.

Bede McAlpin, originally from Bowral, NSW, works in procurement and sales with Arcadian Organic, Australia’s largest integrated organic beef supply chain, based in Toowoomba. His chosen topic is will explore product branding and its potential benefits along the supply chain.

Bede’s mentor is prominent export beef industry identity Richard Rains, former head of large non-packer exporter, Sanger Australia

Bede McAlpin gets to know his mentor, Richard Rains

Ella Paine’s chosen project will look at strategies to reinvigorate enrolments at Longreach Pastoral College, where she is currently completing her certificate studies, before heading to Brisbane next year to study agribusiness at university.

Ella comes from western Queensland, where her family operates a Droughtmaster cattle property near Winton. She said LPC had the resources and connections to give young students the educational base to launch a successful beef industry career, and wants to see the facility better utilised. Her mentor is respected Queensland cattle producer Steve Taylor.

She said she was looking forward to connecting further with her fellow Mentor program participants over the next ten months. “It’s great to be working with other young people who are passionate about the Australian beef industry.”

Protege Ella Paine, from Winton, chats with Beef Australia director Bryce Camm

Gippsland beef producer and retail butcher Stewart Moroney has been paired with Brett Kelly, chief executive of northern NSW cooperatively-owned dairy giant, Norco. What can Stewart learn from a dairy industry stakeholder, readers might ask? His chosen topic is building a cooperatively owned beef supply chain and brand program based on Victoria’s alpine region. Who better to advise about the challenges, opportunities and pitfalls in cooperative agribusiness models than one of Australia’s largest farmer co-ops?

Inaugural 2015 program fondly remembered

Also present at the recent Mentor Program launch event in Brisbane were some participants from the previous 2015 program.

One of those was Amanda Moohen, who works at Camm Agricultural Group’s Wonga Plains feedlot on Queensland’s Darling Downs. Amanda’s career has been fast-tracked since participating in the 2015 program, being recently appointed feedlot manager at Wonga Plains. She was also the founder of the Women of Lot Feeding (WOLF) program, designed to bring females working in the grainfed sector together for fellowship and learning. WOLF has held a number of successful functions over the past two years.

Wonga Plains feedlot manager Amanda Moohen caught up with her mentor from the 2015 program, Kaye Wilson from Duaringa.

Amanda looks back fondly at the experience of being involved in the program three years ago.

“I still keep in regular contact with my mentor, Kaye Wilson, an experienced beef producer from Duaringa in Central Queensland,” Amanda said.

“And the nine alumni from the 2015 program still keep in touch – even though we come from diverse industry backgrounds ranging from live export to beef extension, lotfeeding, cattle production and sag education.”

 

  • Beef Australia 2018, the nation’s largest beef industry event, takes place in Rockhampton, Qld from 6-12 May 2018.


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