People on the Move: Recent industry appointments, retirements, achievements

Jon Condon, 11/09/2014

Beef Central publishes occasional lists of significant recent appointments, departures or achievements occurring across the red meat supply chain, both private sector and government. Details for submissions are provided at the bottom of this article…. 


  • McRae, Gorman to depart MLA ranks
  • ALRTA’s new president hails from WA
  • Droughtmasters elect new president
  • New chief for ABRI
  • Ag Career Scholarship to SA student
  • Beef Central columnist enters US Meat Industry Hall of Fame
  • Rural women recognised with inaugural scholarships
  • Rod winds up 40 years in agri-finance
  • Honours for DAFF staff
  • New Limousin marketing executive
  • Young Ag Professionals appoint new chair


McRae, Gorman to depart MLA ranks

Respected red meat industry economist Tim McRae will leave Meat & Livestock Australia’s employ later this month, leaving a considerable void in the market intelligence and forecasting space.

Mr McRae’s departure is voluntary and has been planned for some time, and has nothing to do with MLA’s current internal restructure. He has spent the past four years as MLA’s manager for market information and analysis.

Tim McRae 3

Tim McRae

As the service delivery company’s chief economist, he spoke at countless producer gatherings around Australia over recent years and was the chief architect of the MLA’s annual Red Meat Industry Projections. He took up his current role in 2010, succeeding Peter Weeks. He originally joined MLA as a fresh university economics graduate in 2002.

Mr McRae plans to return to his family cattle holding near Orange, where his wife practises as a dermatologist, He plans to continue engagement with the red meat industry through some consulting work.

Understandably, given current circumstances, MLA is yet to make a decision about how the role will be filled in future.


Michelle Gorman

In other MLA senior management developments related to the current restructure, it was announced this week that Michelle Gorman will leave the producer company.

Ms Gorman has spent the past eight years as general manager, industry systems. She gained widespread industry respect for her handling of the Meat Standards Australia program, particularly, after being ‘thrown in at the deep end’ in the role after former general manager Allan Bloxsom’s departure.

Ms Gorman returned to MLA in 2006 after spending several years working for the American Farm Bureau Federation in Washington DC. She held a number of senior roles in MLA including managing the market access program, acting as regional manager for the US region office in Washington, and establishing the policy research program.

MLA is yet to announce an appointment in the remaining general management role created under the recent internal restructure, that being GM, on-farm innovation and adoption.


New ALRTA president hails from WA

National livestock transport industry representative body, the Australian Livestock Road Transport Association, has elected a new president.

grant robins ALRTA president

Grant Robins

Western Australia’s Grant Robins was elected national president at the association’s recent annual general meeting in Melbourne. Mr Robins hails from Kulin, 300km Southeast of Perth, where he owns and operates Kulin Transport, a business he started 26 years ago.

He was president of the Livestock and Rural Transport Association of Western Australia (LRTAWA) for seven years, and has served several years as ALRTA vice-president.

He succeeds Queenslander, Liz Schmidt, who has not sought re-election on account of winning pre-selection for the seat of Dalrymple in the upcoming Queensland state election.

“Grant has been an excellent contributor with the LRTAWA and ALRTA for many years and I know he will have strong support from the National Council to continue the fight to improve the rural transport sector,” Mrs Schmidt told members recently.

Others to stand down this year after serving long terms on ALRTA council were Andrew Higginson, Robert Cavanagh and Barney Hayes.


New president for Droughtmasters

Respected commercial cattleman and experienced cattle vet, Michael Flynn, was elected as the new president of the Droughtmaster Society recently.

Michael Flynn

Michael Flynn

Dr Flynn has been a director of the Society for three years and brings to the role a wealth of practical and scientific knowledge to the task through his lengthy vet career and as a commercial cattle breeder.

He broke his teeth as a vet in north-west Queensland during the TB and Brucellosis Eradication Campaign and over the years operated several of his own practices, eventually selling his Charleville practice in 2000.

Michael and wife Tracey today run 4500 Droughtmaster cattle including 200 registered females on their property Valera Vale near Charleville. They recently moved to a family grazing property near Boonah, with a manager taking over the day-to-day operations at Valera Vale.

Also elected as Droughtmaster Society directors this year were National Directors Steven Pickering, Doug Miles and Brett Warne, together with Tim Lloyd (Far Southern Zone), Brian Heck (South East Zone), and Jeff Williams (Far Northern Zone).


New chief for ABRI

Armidale’s Agricultural Business Research Institute has a new managing director, following the recent resignation of Deon Goosen.

Alex McDonald

Alex McDonald

Former Australian Limousin Breeders’ Society general manager Alex McDonald has now stepped into the role.

ABRI specialises in the provision of a wide range of agribusiness information services to the domestic and international livestock industries. Perhaps the best known of those is Breedplan.

Mr McDonald has had a diverse career across the livestock sector, working initially in RD&E with the Victorian Department of Agriculture for 12 years, based at Wodonga. In 1986 he became the national coordinator for Breedplan, before moving in 1989 to the Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit as coordinator of the National Carcase Evaluation Project, where he was heavily involved in the introduction of real-time ultrasound scanning technology to Australia’s livestock industries. In this capacity, he was also involved in the design of the original Beef CRC.

In 1992, Mr McDonald was appointed general manger of the Australian Limousin Breeders Society, where he served until recently. He earlier spent seven years as a director of ABRI, which provides genetic analyses and other genetic technology services to all major beef cattle breeds in Australia, as well breed associations in many other countries including the US, Canada, UK, South Africa and Namibia.

Since 2006 he has consulted to the Southern Beef Technologies Service, a joint venture between MLA, ABRI and 15 temperate cattle breed societies aimed at increasing the understanding and use of genetic technologies by beef cattle seedstock and commercial breeders.


Ag Career Scholarship to SA student

Molly Ashby, a senior school student from Westminster School in Adelaide, has won the 2014 Agribusiness Association of Australia’s Agricultural Career Scholarship. The award was announced at the association’s annual dinner in Adelaide last week.

Molly Ashby

Molly Ashby

The three-year scholarship was open to all South Australian final year secondary school students intending to further their studies in an agriculture related discipline.

The AAA career scholarship is awarded annually and is rotated among the states in which the association’s AGM is being held. It is open to all final year secondary students planning to undertake tertiary study in an agricultural discipline. Last year’s $3000 scholarship was awarded to a student in regional Queensland, and in 2015 the award will go to a student in NSW.

Molly impressed this year’s judging panel with her articulate submission and clear focus on agriculture as a priority career path.  Her engagement in voluntary community service was also a stand-out for the judges.

She intends studying Veterinary Science next year and said that the scholarship would be valuable in helping with the financial commitments tertiary study involved.

“One of the Association’s mandates is to promote agriculture as a career of first choice.  It is something the board is passionate about and it underpinned our decision to put resources behind this annual scholarship,” AAA director Simon Venus said.


CBW editor enters US meat industry Hall Of Fame

CATTLE Buyers Weekly editor and Beef Central columnist, Steve Kay is one of six new inductees into the US Meat Industry Hall of Fame.


Steve Kay

Mr Kay has written and published CBW since its inception in 1987 and provides a popular monthly column for Beef Central on US meat and livestock market developments.

This year’s other new HOF inductees include: Patrick Boyle, president and CEO of the American Meat Institute for 25 years; Zerle Carpenter, 35 years a Professor of Animal Science at Texas A&M University; Graeme Goodsir, writer, analyst and former Canada Packers executive; Melvin Hunt, a professor at Kansas State University’s Animal Science and Industry department since 1975; and Jim Marsden, Regents Distinguished Professor of Food Safety and Security at KSU.

The six will be inducted at a September 13 ceremony in Charleston, South Carolina, as part of the North American Meat Association’s annual Outlook Conference. This was NAMA’s last formal meeting, as its merger with the American Meat Institute takes effect from January. The new organisation will be known as the North American Meat Institute (NAMI).

Another noteworthy HOF entrant this year is Graeme Goodsir, the first Australian to ever be inducted.

Graeme has spent the past 42 years in the US as a meat company executive, writer, analyst and publishing executive. He has carved out an impeccable reputation within all facets of the US meat industry, having first arrived in 1972 as the CEO of the Australian Meat Board, heading up the AMB’s office in New York.

Graeme stayed in the US and went on to head Canada Packers’ import operations, and became chair the Meat Importers Council of America (MICA) in 1982. He has been a regular commentator on the global meat industry and most recently was a significant contributor to Steve Martyn’s book, “World on a Plate – a History of Meat Processing in Australia.”


Rural women recognised with inaugural scholarships

The Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Minister assisting the Prime Minister for Women, Michaelia Cash, recently announce the recipients of the inaugural board diversity scholarships for women in rural and remote areas.

Jointly funded by Company Directors and the Australian Government, the awards are part of the broader Board Diversity Scholarship program that allows high-performing women across Australia to complete Company Directors’ courses. Recipients will also receive 12-months membership of Company Directors and a $2000 contribution towards travel expenses.

More than 300 women from rural and remote areas in all states and territories applied for the program, with the 30 recipients selected based on their experience and leadership potential by a committee of representatives from Company Directors and the Australian Government’s Office for Women.

“The calibre of applicants shows the depth of skill that exists outside our major metropolitan areas. The recipients – who reside in areas from Alice Springs to Mt Isa, Broome and Bourke – all have a strong commitment to their communities and a desire to apply the highest standard of governance to local organisations,” said John Colvin, chief executive of Company Directors.

Beef sector stakeholders to receive one of the scholarships included Josie Angus, from Kimberley Cattle Co, Clermont. Click here to access full list

Statistics compiled by Company Directors show that in recent years the number of women on Australia’s top boards has grown from 8pc in 2008 to 18pc by July this year.


Rod winds up 40 years in agri-finance

Rod Kelly, a popular 40 year-veteran in the agri-finance industry and long-standing advocate of Queensland agribusiness, is to retire from banking after an illustrious career supporting regional and rural Australia.

Rod Kelly

Rod Kelly

Currently Westpac’s state manager of agribusiness for Queensland, Rod began his banking career as a branch office assistant at Warwick when he joined the Bank of New South Wales, in March, 1975. He progressively rose through the ranks, taking on a variety of roles that has seen him serve both the bank and state in senior representative positions.

As well as running a business that has stretched from Cape York to Warwick, Rod has also played a major part in helping Queensland recover from a series of major disasters including Cyclones Larry and Yasi and the devastating floods of 2011 and 2013.

Outside of banking, Rod has sat on a State Ministerial Committee, is a current member of the executive committee of the Queensland Rural Press Club, and is a graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Program.

He will take long service leave in October and will then formally retire next March on his 40th anniversary of joining the bank.


Honours for DAFF staff

Two Queensland DAFF staff have recently been acknowledged for achievement and community contribution.

FutureBeef extension officer Rebecca Gunther from Cloncurry has been nominated as a finalist in the 2014 QRRRWN Strong Women Leadership Awards. These awards recognise contribution to rural, regional and remote communities, where Rebecca has been nominated in the professional category.

Workmate Emma Hegarty, also from DAFF Cloncurry, has been awarded the University of New England’s Young Distinguished Alumni Award for 2014, for outstanding professional achievement and community involvement, and for providing inspiration to the next generation of graduates.


New Limousin marketing executive

The Australian Limousin Breeders Society has undergone a recent expansion, with Renee Patricks commencing as the new marketing executive for the organisation.

Ms Patricks has considerable experience in marketing and promotions within the beef cattle industry, joining ALBS from a previous role within the marketing department at Angus Australia.

Ms Patricks said she was excited to be joining the ALBS team based in Armidale, and looked forward to working with Members to promote the Limousin breed.


Young Agricultural Professionals elect new chair

YOUNG, dedicated and passionate. These are three words that perfectly describe the newly elected chair of Victoria’s Young Agribusiness Professionals (YAPs) organisation.

Amy Fay

Amy Fay

Twenty-seven year old Amy Fay grew up on a mixed broadacre farm in Willaura, Western Victoria and is now Program Development Manager at Dairy Australia. She was elected by the VFF board of directors as the next chair of the young policy-setting and network group.

Amy studied Ag Science at Melbourne University and has spent the last few years working in research management and sustainable agriculture policy in Canberra, as well as studying for her Masters in Agriculture Science.

“I’m really excited to expand my role in YAPs and look forward to working with our new executive committee and executive officer. The new committee has a really solid skill set and some fresh faces to bring new ideas to the table,” Ms Fay said.

“Over the next twelve months we’re really keen to connect in with a bigger group of young people in Victoria and build on previous success. We will be expanding the type and number of networking events and professional development opportunities that we run,” she said.

“We really want to hear from our members on how they want YAPs to operate and what activities they want to get involved in so I would really encourage everyone to get in touch with myself and the rest of the committee and get involved,” Ms Fay said.

The YAPs committee forms one of the seven committees within the VFF that advise the Policy Council. The committee is made up of one chair and eight members, aged between 18 and 35 years.


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