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ICMJ journey comes full circle for beef extension officer

Beef Central, 08/09/2022

BORN and raised on a property just outside the Beef Capital in Central Queensland, Matthew Richardson might have always been destined to carve out a career in the livestock industry.

But while studying a Bachelor of Agriculture at CQUniversity, Matthew joined the ICMJ program and discovered a whole new world of opportunities in the red meat industry he never knew existed.

“Before I did ICMJ I didn’t really understand how big and diverse the industry was,” he said.

“I always knew about the cattle production side but I never really looked into the red meat processing sector or the other opportunities along the supply chain.”

Matthew attended the very first ICMJ Northern Conference held in Rockhampton in 2019, which sparked an interest that kept him coming back for more.

He went on to the ICMJ National Conference in Wagga Wagga the same year.

“I really enjoyed it – I wasn’t actually any good at the meat judging at first, but I loved the networking and being able to see all of the different sides to the red meat industry,” he said.

After graduating, Matthew applied for a job as a beef extension officer at the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

He said being an ICMJ alumni and having previously spoken with DAF employees at the ICMJ Careers Expo stood him in good stead amongst other applicants.

“I remember speaking with Kylie Hopkins at the expo and then when the role was advertised, Kylie recommended me based on our conversation at ICMJ,” he said.

In 2022, Matthew returned to the ICMJ Northern Conference as an industry participant and finished runner up in the commercial evaluations category of the beef judging competition.

Matthew said the ICMJ Northern Conference was a unique professional development opportunity that helped him gain a greater understanding of the entire beef production supply chain,

“I still think that ICMJ is definitely the best thing I did during university and up there among the best things I’ve done in my career so far,” he said.

“Because of ICMJ, I have the ability to assess the commercial value of different cuts of meat but also a better appreciation of how on-farm decisions around genetics and cattle handling can affect the eating quality of the end product,” he said.

The 2023 ICMJ Northern Conference will be held in Rockhampton from 12-15 April, 2023. 

ICMJ’s mission is to inspire and develop the next generation of leaders in the red meat industry.

It is supported by foundation partners, Meat and Livestock Australia and Australian Meat Processor Corporation as well as a range of industry sponsors.

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