The annual Inter-Collegiate Meat Judging national conference has kicked off at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga this morning, inspiring and educating the next generation of Australian red meat industry stakeholders.
CSU deputy vice chancellor of research, Professor Mark Evans, officially opened the conference, welcoming 130 students and young industry participants to the four-day event.
Traditionally the ICMJ National Conference has delivered training for university students from across Australia and overseas, but this year organisers responded to growing demand from industry and opened registrations to include young professionals already in the workforce.
Participants also include a team of nine students from the USA’s University of Wyoming.
Today’s sessions included big picture presentations from Meat & Livestock Australia managing director and ICMJ alumni, Jason Strong and internationally renowned meat scientist Professor Graham Gardner.
Other speakers during the event include Martin Smithson from Coles; Tom Maguire from processor, HW Greenham; Madison Campbell from Kilcoy Global Foods, and Jake Phillips from Angus Australia.
Former Australian ICMJ team member, AAM Investment Group managing director Garry Edwards spoke to participants this morning about embracing unexpected opportunities and breaking through self-imposed limitations.
“Be prepared to go and do things that are outside of your comfort zone, because having experiences in different areas of agriculture really opens your mind to how learnings can be applied to other industries,” he said.
“Learning about the success or failure of one sector and applying those learnings to another sector or enterprise is an enormous benefit to an individual’s personal development because it is constantly getting people to challenge the status quo,” he said.
AAM operates and manages a diversified portfolio of agricultural assets worth more than $970 million.
Mr Edwards said the ICMJ program provided an unparalleled opportunity for participants to access and connect with agricultural industry leaders and decision makers.
“I believe ICMJ is the number one program for all agricultural talent not just meat industry talent because what it does is instill a lot of disciplines and principles in people and facilitates the creation of networks that people can apply across all sectors of agriculture,” he said.
ICMJ President Dr Peter McGilchrist said the goal of ICMJ is to inspire and develop the future red meat industry workforce, and while university students are a core part of that future workforce, it was also important to continue to develop the skills of young people after they enter the workforce. More than 3000 people have taken part in the ICMJ program over its 33-year history.
The ICMJ National Conference runs over four days until Saturday 8 July at Charles Sturt University and Teys Australia in Wagga Wagga, NSW.
Charles Sturt AgriPark executive director Nick Pagett said the conference was a premier event for the next generation of red meat producers.
“The ICMJ conference offers invaluable agricultural knowledge, expertise, and training to equip the next generation of Australian red meat industry leaders with the skills required for the future,” he said.
As well as the inspiring speakers and Saturday’s prestigious national meat judging competition, the ICMJ Careers and Industry Expo connects delegates with representatives from almost 50 agribusinesses.
The top performers in the national competition are selected to represent Australia on a tour of the United States red meat industry and compete in a US ICMJ competition.
ICMJ activities are supported by foundation partners Meat & Livestock Australia and the Australian Meat Processor Corporation.
- For more information about ICMJ, visit www.icmj.com.au