The initiative drew 82 applicants from around the nation last year with fourth generation Victorian farmer, Kevin Stark, of Lake Mundi, announced as the winner.
Kevin gained leadership training, participated in Cattle Council consultative committees and travelled with the CCA delegation to the Five Nations Beef Alliance meeting in Mexico.
The aim of the Rising Champion initiative is to inspire, empower and support young people passionate about the Australian beef industry, and to provide them with an opportunity to be directly involved.
Applications open on May 1, with the winner given the opportunity to develop knowledge, political acumen and leadership skills to be a young champion in the beef industry.
Now in its sixth year, the award caters for young people aged 18 to 35.
The Stark family run their commercial beef herd on 2500ha, turning off 600-650kg grass fed bullocks over-the-hooks.
Always fascinated by agri-politics, Kevin was inspired to enter the Rising Champion award by 2014 recipient and Queensland cattle breeder Sam Becker.
“Too many people complain about industry problems without doing anything but I wanted a seat at the table so I can influence change and help the beef industry stay strong,’’ he said.
“It has been a good springboard to understand the free trade agreements, Trans Pacific Partnership and what the Cattle Council does.
“Another big part was the exceptional networking opportunity – being with all the people at CCA is great for personal and business development.’’
At Mexico, discussion focused on sustainability, trade barriers, biosecurity, traceability, origin of branding and the Trans Pacific Partnership.
Mr Stark said it was important for commercial producers to contribute to the Beef Industry Strategic Plan 2020.
“Australia is among the best in the world when it comes to producing a high quality premium beef product with a clean, green reputation but we need to keep on top of trade and market access to stay there,’’ he said.
“Cattle Council has been proactive at looking at different trade options and market access opportunities.
“Some of the big tariff cuts should set up the beef industry for years to come.’’
Geoff Birchnell, from Tamworth, NSW, was awarded the NAB Agribusiness Acknowledgement Award for 2015 and received the Australian Beef Industry Marcus Oldham Rural Leadership Program Scholarship.
The 2015 finalists included Emily Bryant(WA), Bronte James(NT), Samuel Wright(Qld), Alison Horswill(Tas), and Kitty Sheridan(SA).
The 2016 winner will be announced at a gala dinner in Canberra on August 27.