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Helping pastoralists to learn from each other

Beef Central, 02/05/2012

Resource Consulting Service's David McLeanIf you think that working with indigenous people to improve grazing businesses on their own land might seem a little redundant, then think again.

Many landowners, both indigenous and non-indigenous, from right across Australia have found that getting a better education in pastoral systems, land and business management has meant the difference between ‘a good year’ and a bad one.

That is certainly the case in the case in the experience of Resource Consulting Services’ David McLean in training farmers and graziers in the RCS programs over the past five years.

Mr McLean co-delivered the GrazingforProfit School for graziers with David Hanlon, from The Right Mind, recently at Ross River Resort east of Alice Springs.

In a combination of 23 indigenous and non-indigenous participants, the four day workshop educated people from a variety of backgrounds including station workers and departmental staff.

“The indigenous pastoral industry manages a large portion of the Australian landscape,” Mr McLean said.

“There are considerable opportunities on this land to produce large quantities of agricultural resources, boost economies and create employment.”

For the aboriginal attendees, Mr McLean stated that their type of connection with the land and the history behind it was obviously very different to, and not understood by, the non-indigenous population.

“However, there are many ways for the whole community to come together and many more good reasons for all pastoralists to learn from each other,” Mr McLean said.

“We spent a lot of time working with this GrazingforProfit group on developing their own personal vision for themselves and the indigenous pastoral industry.

“In doing this, we started to shift the focus away from the aspects they couldn't control in their lives and businesses, to those aspects they could control and influence.”

The key factor in working with people developing their personal vision was to have belief about what was important in their communities, what lifestyles they would like to live and then what it is they can do on their land, in today’s world, to make that happen.

The Indigenous Grazing for Profit School, which was organised by the Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association (NTCA), was the first step for these indigenous pastoralists in the NT to becoming a successful station managers and developing the skills required to do so. 

“I am really looking forward to working with some of the participants both in a workshop style program as well as one on one to help them achieve this,” Mr McLean said.

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