People on the Move: Appointments, retirements, achievements

Jon Condon, 10/07/2017

Beef Central publishes an occasional summary of appointments, departures and achievements occurring across the red meat supply chain, both private sector and government. Send details for entries to

  • CCA loses CEO after six months
  • New CRC role for Matz
  • Ruralco restructures exec team, while former northern manager moves to Stanbroke
  • Alex McDonald steps back from seedstock industry roles
  • New sales manager for AuctionsPlus
  • Premier’s award to young environmental officer
  • Howard Yelland award to prominent seedstock producer
  • Animal welfare Professor joins QAAFI
  • 2017 Horizon Scholarship recipients

CCA loses CEO after six months

Cattle Council of Australia announced on Friday afternoon that chief executive officer Duncan Bremner has tendered his resignation.

Duncan Bremner

Mr Bremner only started in the role in January.

“I have come to the conclusion that I am not the right person to lead the CCA in its current form through the significant reforms the organisation must undertake,” Mr Bremner said in a brief statement issued by CCA.

“The Australian cattle industry is my passion, and it has been a privilege to have had the opportunity to lead the peak industry council for the sector,” he said.

CCA president Howard Smith thanked Mr Bremner for his service to the industry.

“Duncan has done a great job in assisting CCA in supporting Australia’s grassfed beef industry,” he said. “I would like to recognise his contribution to industry and wish him the best in his future endeavours.”

New CRC role for Matz

Meanwhile, former CCA chief executive Jed Matz has taken up a new position as CEO of the newly-formed Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia.

Jed Matz

Mr Matz will operate from the new CRC’s Townsville headquarters.

The Federal Government earlier this year announced the establishment of the board of the $75 million CRC for Developing Northern Australia. The body’s mission is to bring together industry, research organisations and northern jurisdictions with international partners to tackle barriers to private investment in the north. The initial focus will be on agriculture, food and tropical health.

Mr Matz said during his ten years with the CCA, he had spent a lot of time in Northern Australia.

“I’ve been working in the beef industry for 10 years – and this CRC has a very high focus on agriculture and food,” he said. “I will be speaking to the board about their vision and help implement that. I’m really passionate about what the northern part of Australia can achieve with its natural advantages. It’s a great opportunity to continue working in that space.”

Three stakeholders with strong beef industry connections have gained seats on the new CRC board – former cattle producer and mayor of Richmond shire council since 1997, John WhartonDon McDonald from MDH, one of the largest privately owned vertically-integrated beef enterprises in Australia; and former CEO of the NT Cattlemens Association, Tracey Hayes.

Ruralco restructures exec team, while former northern manager moves to Stanbroke

Former senior livestock manager with national rural agency, Ruralco, Duane Woodham, starts in a new role with Stanbroke Beef this week, after being made redundant by Ruralco earlier this month.

Duane Woodham

Mr Woodham, who earlier worked for JBS as northern region livestock manager, joined Ruralco in September last year as northern region divisional manager for rural agency operations.

Beef Central made an inquiry to Ruralco about the circumstances behind Mr Woodham’s redundency, and was told a restructure of the company’s executive operations was the cause.

“Given the size of the Ruralco operations portfolio and the company’s growth plans for the network as outlined in the Future Farming Strategy, the division has been split into three roles, divided into key geographies,” Ruralco said in a statement. “This split allows a region-specific focus positioning the division for growth.”

Effective from 1 October,  Ruralco’s rural operations will operate in three regions:

  • South – encompassing VIC, SA and WA. Matt Pederson will assume the role of executive general manager – Southern Australia
  • North – encompassing Northern NSW, QLD and NT. The role of executive general manager – Northern Australia will be advertised
  • Tasmanian Operations, encompassing Roberts and TP Jones. John Tuskin, General Manager – Tasmanian Operations, will come onto the Executive Team to fill that role.

“It is however regrettable that as a result of the restructure of the Northern division, Mr Woodham will leave the business. It is always regrettable when the business loses employees as a result of any restructure. Ruralco thanks Duane for his contribution and wishes him all the best for the future,” the company statement said.

Mr Woodham has 28 years’ experience in the livestock agency and processor cattle buying industry. He led JBS’s Queensland team of livestock buyers for some years and was responsible for overall purchasing for some of the largest abattoirs and feedlots in Australia.

He starts with Stanbroke Beef this week in what we understand is a newly-created senior livestock procurement and management role.

Stanbroke is a vertically-integrated beef cattle supply chain, running around 100,000 head of cattle on its northern breeding properties. It also operates the Stanbroke feedlot near Chinchilla, which recently announced plans to expand out to 40,000 head capacity, and the Stanbroke Beef processing plant near Grantham in Qld’s Lockyer Valley.

The company has more recently expanded into Wagyu and Organic production niches, and produces a number of Angus, Wagyu and conventional beef brands including Diamantina, Signature Black, Augustus, Flinders Natural and Sanchoku.

Alex McDonald steps back from seedstock industry roles

Respected seedstock industry administrator Alex McDonald stepped back from his final industry roles on June 30, to tackle a well-earned retirement.

Alex McDonald

Mr McDonald has been working part-time at Agricultural Business Research Institute recently where his main roles were managing the Southern and Northern Beef Technology Services operations.

Prior to that he spent several years as managing director of ABRI up to 2015, and 22 years in breed administration with the Australian Limousin Breeders’ Society.

Mr McDonald has enjoyed 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.

Since 2006 he consulted with Southern Beef Technologies Services, 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.

Mr McDonald will continue to represent ARCBA on Cattle Council of Australia’s AHWB & S committee, which handles BJD, among other animal health issues.

New sales manager for AuctionsPlus

AuctionsPlus has appointed Angus Street as the online livestock market’s new sales manager.

Angus Street

Growing up near Murrurundi, NSW on a commercial cattle property, Mr Street has had a diverse career including work as an agricultural journalist, as a stakeholder relations specialist with MLA during the Indonesian live export crisis, funds management with Horticulture Innovation Australia, as director for the Future Farmers Network and more recently, strategic consulting for business seeking to enter the China market.

“Angus has a passion for transformational technology and how businesses use this to evolve and stay ahead of the pack,” AuctionsPlus chief executive Anna Speer said.

“AuctionsPlus is looking to get more proactive and engage with the end-to-end supply chain in continuing to evolve the marketing platform, and he is heading this project up. He is most excited to get back to his roots in the livestock industry, and help all AuctionsPlus users get the most out of the platform,” she said.

Premier’s award to young environmental officer

Teys Australia environmental officer Jacob Welch recently received the Young Achiever’s award as part of the Queensland Premier’s 2017 Sustainability Awards.

Mr Welch, who works as environmental supervisor at the Teys Beenleigh beef processing plant in southern Queensland, has over the past three years been involved in the design, construction and commissioning of a state-of-the-art wastewater system and renewable energy project at the facility. His team has delivered resource efficiency projects resulting in a 40 percent saving in water, a 43 percent reduction in use of natural gas, and six percent reduction in energy use.

Howard Yelland award to prominent seedstock producer

One of the principals of Te Mania Angus, Tom Gubbins, has been awarded the Howard Yelland Beef Industry Award for 2017, during the recent Marcus Oldham Rural Leadership dinner. The award is presented by the Australian Beef Industry Foundation and Marcus Oldham College with the support of Boehringer Ingelheim Australia (formerly Merial).

“Tom has been at the forefront of leading the genetic development, on-farm management strategy for not only the Angus breed but the whole of the Australian beef industry through his willingness to provide access to the information and technology developed by Te Mania Angus in its commitment to objective measurement as a key to genetic improvement,” ABIF chair John Gunthorpe said.

Tom Gubbins

The citation for the 2017 award reads as follows:

“In recognition of Tom Gubbins’ contribution as a significant and multi-faceted contributor to not only the Angus sector but the Australian beef Industry by being in the fore front of the adoption of ‘new age technology’ to develop and promote objective measurement and genetic selection as the basis for the genetic destiny, market performance, long term viability and security of the beef cattle industry. His commitment to providing a strong connection between seedstock producers, geneticists and researchers both in Australia and internationally has ensured that the genetic evaluation systems for livestock production in this country continue to be placed at the forefront of world’s best practice.”

ABIF also recognised the expertise Mr Gubbins brought to many industry organisations, in his role on the AGBU consultative committee, membership of the Australian Angus Technical Committee, MLA National Livestock Genetics Task Force, and the Trans-Tasman Cow productivity program.

The award recognises Howard Yelland, a pioneer and leader in the Australian Beef industry through his championing of objective selection and performance recording for beef cattle. It seeks to acknowledge individuals who have given service to the beef industry ‘above and beyond’ their normal role. There have been 32 recipients since 1987.

Animal welfare Professor joins QAAFI

Professor Alan Tilbrook, a founding member of southern Australia’s Animal Welfare Science Centre, has taken up a key role to lead animal welfare research at the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation. Professor Tilbrook is a national and international leader in animal welfare science, renowned for his research in animal and biomedical science fields including endocrinology, neuro-endocrinology, behaviour, stress, and reproduction.

He says his first role at QAAFI will be to consult with industry and stakeholders to better understand the animal welfare issues in northern Australia. Professor Tilbrook says the industry is moving to continuous improvement of animal welfare, but inherent to the success of this is the ability to rigorously assess the welfare of animals. Professor Tilbrook recently delivered this presentation on “Hormones, stress and animal welfare”.  Click the youtube link below to view.

2017 Horizon Scholarship recipients

Fifteen university students have been awarded the annual 2017 Horizon Scholarship, an initiative of the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation in partnership with industry sponsors, which recognises leadership and commitment to the future of Australian agriculture. The bursary, funded by industry sponsors, provides $5000 per year for the duration of the students’ degree in addition to professional development workshops and work placement opportunities, to kick start their career in agriculture.

Jonathan Reid

RIRDC managing director, John Harvey congratulated the students on their success and welcomed the up-and-coming leaders to the Horizon Scholarship program. The successful 15 scholars were selected from a talent pool of more than 150 applicants this year.

One of this year’s recipients is Townsville uni student Jonathan Reid, sponsored by Meat & Livestock Australia. Cattle genetics and nutrition are his special areas of interest.

“Genetics is always a fascinating area of study, due to the endless possibilities and being able to strive for something that is ‘bigger and better’ than before,” Jonathan said.

Throughout his high school years, he participated in many work experience visits on local cattle stations where he gained a passion for northern beef production.

“Agriculture is such a significant industry to be involved in, knowing that your work and research will contribute positively to the lives of so many,” Jonathon said. “With the increasing world population and the pressing need to meet the demands of food production, it is essential for agricultural techniques to become more sustainable, improving people’s lives while not impacting on existing ecosystems. There has never been a better time to be part of these exciting developments.”

Jonathan would eventually like to work in Northern Australia in hopes of contributing to current genetics in northern breeds of cattle. He said he strongly believed that industry placements will help him see where the focus of cattle production needs to be.




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  1. Rod Dunbar, 13/07/2017

    Funny how the LivestockSA proponents always use the “get out of our industry” slogan .
    The fact is that the South Australian Farmers Federation has been wound up in bankruptcy because the 90% of producers could no longer tolerate the CCA led leadership. I am presuming Mr Gordon Davis is one of the 10% whom approached the SA Labor Party Government and had the Government legislate a Tax through State parliament to fund the last remnant of SAFF executive to a SA Government Agency called LivestockSA whom the CCA call the “representatives” of the cattle industry in SA; compulsory membership included.
    I most certainly agree with Eion re the implementation of the 7 Senate Inquiry Recommendations – Joyce will never implement them because the 10%ers would loose their control over all of us – the Recommendation that holds the most fear to CCA/RMAC and their mates is Audit which was to established by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO), we would then find out where all the almost $2 billion tax /levy funds went in the MLA structure went and benefited financially.
    Has anyone ever investigated the huge difference between the cattle numbers that the Dept of Ag Levies Collection Unit (LCU) says is the amount of transactions to which the CTL is paid? Well we have, and the fact is the Bureau of Statistics annual numbers of cattle slaughtered and exported live add up to nearly the amount the LCU is all the transactions nationally !!!!!!
    There is a huge dependency ; one of the issues an ANAO Audit would clarify.
    Rod Dunbar – Director – United Stockowners of Australia

  2. Eion John McAllister, 12/07/2017

    Many views on many issues and Gordon people are entitled to view the world through rose coloured glasses or darker shades if that is their choice but please don’t dismiss out of hand the combined experience and views of people who are and have been members of the industry for a long time and who have seen a lot of things happen over that time. They have seen the impacts and in many cases paid big financial costs, which entitles them to prudence in their outlook and views about the world. It would seem a bit over the top to be telling people to get out of “our ” industry because their view of the situations we have here in this country does not align with somebody else’s position about it. Remember we all pay, some more than others granted, but are we not entitled to express our views upon what we get for our money?If I was buying an item in a shop consumer law would allow a refund if it was not fit for purpose and as a consumer you are the one who indicates if it is fit for your purpose. If one is happy with a product then that is great but for another consumer the exact same product may not be fit for purpose and a refund would be appropriate. I have no capacity to ask for a refund within this industry and have every right to express a view about the things that happen. You don’t have to agree with me or others but neither do I have to see the world your way when I have reason to feel otherwise.

  3. Jock Williamson, 11/07/2017

    Well said, Gordon!

  4. Gordon Davis SA, 11/07/2017

    The beef industry is in a fantastic position because of people who don’t sit back and blame PIC’s, Farming Organisations, MLA and the Minister for every little issue. Minister Joyce has done an outstanding job for Agriculture.

    You only get out of an industry what you put in and the above comments reflect people who stand on the sideline and complain about people who leave their businesses for no pay and contribute – all you guys do is shoot them down!

    You guys live in the dark ages and I only hope you don’t work out how to turn the lights on but instead get out of our beef industry.

  5. John Gunthorpe, 10/07/2017

    Congratulations again Tom on your receiving the prestigious Boehringer Howard Yelland Award for 2017. It was disappointing that you were in transit from the World Angus Conference and unable to receive the award in person. Hamish and Amanda did a fine job of representing the family.

    Of course you follow on from Zanda McDonald who received the award posthumously last year. Your parents were also honoured jointly in 2008. So you join a long list of past recipients.

    All have made a contribution to our industry that has extracted change and new growth. You well deserve to be counted in their number and it was a great joy to be part of the selection and presentation process.

  6. John Gunthorpe, 10/07/2017

    Thank you Alex for all your help and support in ending one of the blackest periods of our industry’s history. The social and financial cost to members of our industry from the prosecution of the Protection Zone Policy in the management of the bovine Johne’s disease in Queensland under the previous national strategy was devastating.

    Unfortunately the job is unfinished and we must now rid the country of the CCA-invented J-BAS system. However, Alex your continued support of the small group of people who for 3 years fought against this barbaric approach to eradicate a misunderstood disease was greatly appreciated. I am sure there are many undertakings in your career where you influenced change but none where the import was greater. We are forever in your debt. My best wishes for your retirement and I look forward to catching up in the not too distant future.

  7. John Gunthorpe, 10/07/2017

    I join Eion and John in expressing my concern about the real reasons for the early departure of the CEO at CCA. It has been a long time since CCA truly represented the interests of Australian cattle producers. Their attempt to attract direct membership has failed. Membership of their state affiliated organisations are also diminishing.

    As was pointed out to CCA’s President in a meeting with Minister Joyce in December 2015, CCA are ineffective in managing their MOU with MLA and instead go cap in hand to MLA for funding through supposed projects.

    MLA uses levy funds from CCA members to draft meat strategic plans that are forgotten before the ink is dry; give life to capital investments with no producer consultation (how quickly we forget the $30 million plus lost to the automated kill floor by AMLC and now we have DEXA) and no industry support; and advertise clean and green Aussie meat to our overseas customers when a report by McKinsey told us that processor brands should be supported in these markets.

    It is a disgrace that our state based peak councils continue as members of CCA. It is time for CCA to be disbanded and nominations called for a new peak body elected by producers doing the work needed by our industry. All funding to MLA should stop immediately and vest with the new organisation to determine where we need support. The federal government could do this by revisiting the legislation enacted in 1997 that created the current failed structure.

    As recommended by the Senate Enquiry into grass fed levies, the Red Meat Advisory Council should also be shut down. It struggles to find relevance and is a cost we should not carry.

    ACT NOW to make the Australian Beef Industry Great Again. Yes the words are taken from a more infamous leader but they well express the impossible position the current beef peak councils find themselves and we need a movement from all members of our industry big and small to maximise the return we get from our levy payments.

    This will put at risk the matching funding for research we receive from the federal government. The bureaucrats are looking for an opportunity to cease these payments. However better we use half our monies well than lose 80% as we are currently.

  8. Tim McHugh, 10/07/2017

    I am with John Hewson , Eion John Allister needs to be complimented for his fine assessment of the situation existing for our Livestock industry here in Australia ! The Senate Inquiry Eion referred to was chaired by Labor Senator from WA Glen Sterle who did a great job handing down 7 recommendations to benefit the Livestock Industry but only one has got through Parliament , the whip cracker has failed us 🙁

  9. John Hewson, beef producer WA, 08/07/2017

    I heartedly agree with these comments from Eion John Allister. You have certainly summed up the situation with CCA & MLA .Well done..

  10. Eion John Allister, 08/07/2017

    Makes one wonder why he had to make the point about “in its current form” ? Therein lies the essence of the situation, in my view we have abysmal Industry Peak bodies and leadership. Its broken, doesn’t work effectively, doesn’t have confidence in it and spends its time on stuff that is disconnected from most producers needs and has a dismal record of achievement over recent years. The big processors are out of AMIC,and want a new industry emphasis and culture on manufacturing principles. CCA has spent it’s time on squabbling about trying to grab cash and MLA continues to breathe the rarified air in it’s ivory tower. We have had a Senate Inquiry which has seen a lot of issues ventilated but no reform of the issues identified as being of major concern. The Minister wanders around cracking a whip for the TV cameras when he needs the whip cracked around his rump to end this charade that seems not to end. I am amazed by how most producers seem to be happy to vent in private but don’t speak up about their feelings.New CEO’s abandoning ship so soon after appointment means either those responsible for the appointment got it badly wrong to start with or the organisation is so disfunctional that they see the liklehood of being able to reform it with in its current structure,governance and culture as being unachievable; or there is so much interference and lack of support for them and their role that they bail. All are evidence of the performance of the body concerned.

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