IT HAS been the trip of a lifetime for two Indigenous stockmen from the Indigenous Land Corporation’s northern Australian pastoral enterprises, who have recently spent two weeks in Indonesia exploring first-hand South East Asian cattle operations.
Terrance Long, 38, overseer at Gunbalanya Station, Northern Territory, and Robbie Kelly, 24, stockman at Roebuck Export Depot, Western Australia, travelled to Indonesia under a partnership between Halleen Australasian Livestock Traders and the ILC’s subsidiary company Australian Indigenous Agribusiness Ltd.
The stockmen and AIA business and planning support manager, Peter Cunningham, arrived back in Australia last week with a new-found appreciation for the live export cattle supply chain and Indonesian livestock operations.
The exchange program, in its second year, gives participants the opportunity to develop a broader and deeper understanding of cattle operations once livestock leave Australia and arrive for lotfeeding and processing in Indonesia.
As part of the program, the Indigenous cattlemen participated in activities at Sulung Ranch in Kalimantan, visited working feedlots and abattoirs around Jakarta, and visited a range of meat markets in Jakarta to get an understanding of how beef is sold in Indonesia. They also journeyed to the Kalimantan jungle to see local orang-utans.
Trading wide open plains for palm plantations, Robbie Kelly said it was a great experience to see different landscapes and how the cattle are worked and processed in another country.
“To see the whole process from mustering on the stations, then loading on the boat and the finished product at the abattoirs was a great education”
“To see the whole process and to see the finished product at the abattoirs all the way from starting mustering on the stations then loading on the boat was a great education,” he said.
It was the pride and dedication of the Indonesian stockmen in their work that most impressed the pair.
“The workers over there are all great,” Mr Kelly said. “To see the pride and effort they put into their jobs and everything they do, they work really hard for a lot less than us in Australia, and it really makes you appreciate what we have over here.”
He said the Indonesian stockmen’s pride and work ethic was a valuable lesson he would take away from his time in Indonesia.
“It makes me take pride in my job and don’t take it for granted,” Mr Kelly said. “They don’t have the same lifestyle we have, but they put a lot into their jobs and they do it very well.”
Terrance Long was also impressed with the low stress stock handling skills of the Indonesian stockmen.
“Their cattle are so quiet and relaxed, they are not stressed and don’t fight you,” he said.
“I’ve changed my point of view looking at cattle work,” he said. “They put a lot of effort into their cattle, feeding and working with them every day.”
Stockmen involved in the Australian Indigenous Agribusiness Ltd will welcome cattlemen from Indonesia later this year, and look forward to showcasing the Australian side of operations to their South East Asian counterparts.
Mr Long said he looked forward to showing the Indonesian stockmen the indigenous Australian stockmen’s skills, horsemanship, and cattle ground work.
Both men recommend the program to other Indigenous stockmen.
“It is good to see different country, and meet different people and get out of your comfort zone,” Mr Long said. “I wasn’t sure about the trip when I first left, but when I got over there, it just blew me away.”