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PCAS visionary named 2013 Qld Beef Achiever

James Nason, 08/08/2013

A central Queensland grazier widely-recognised as the key architect and driver of the Pasturefed Cattle Assurance Standard has been named Queensland’s Beef Achiever of the Year for 2013.

Fifth-generation central Queensland grazier and former Cattle Council of Australia and AgForce Cattle board member Ian McCamley received the award at a gala ceremony held during opening Brisbane Show festivities last night.

Other major winners awards included Silverwood Organics from Longreach which was named Sheepmeat Producer of the Year; Fitzroy Basin Association grazing land management officer Bronwyn Roberts who was named Red Meat Industry Emerging Leader; Clancyjames delis in Brisbane which was recognised as Retailer of the Year; the Waterline restaurant at Keppel Bay Marina which received the award for best regional red meat restaurant, and the Pig N Whistle, named best metropolitan red meat restaurant.

Further details on each winner appear below.

Mr MrCamley told Beef Central he was honoured to be named Queensland Beef Achiever of the Year, but said the award recognised the efforts of a much wider team of people at all levels of the supply chain who had been instrumental in helping to get the grassfed cattle industry standard up and running.

“I was nominated by three guys from the north and the only reason I agreed to be nominated was that it provides another opportunity to celebrate the fact that we are finally getting there with the grassfed standard that we had worked on for so many years.”

He explained how the long-running campaign to improve market signals for quality grassfed cattle had unfolded:

“I joined AgForce Cattle board in the year 2000, and from there Cattle Council of Australia, and that is when I started to learn that this whole industry push seemed to be going towards grainfed cattle.

“I could never quite understand when I looked at Australia, and our beef from a production environment and climate perspective, why we were trying to like be like America.

“We recognised that we needed to get MSA rolled out (for grassfed cattle) across our larger plants, especially the northern plants because we were going to need that if we were going to have grassfed beef on the table commanding a premium.

“A few of us lobbied to break down resistance on MSA, we got that into the big plants, the rest of that is history.

“We then started to work on a pasturefed standard, we picked out the guys who would at least listen to us, and we kept banging on that table, until finally, they actually came to us and said c’mon hurry up, they were wanting to hurry us up to get the grassfed beef standard in place.

“Finally, we’ve got that up. It has got plenty of bugs to iron out yet, but at least it is out and operating so we can now do that.”

Mr McCamley said voluntary representatives worked hard for their industry but rarely received the recognition of the kind that had followed the introduction of the pasturefed standard.

“To be honest you do all this work, you take time away from your family to do it, and since we have set the pasturefed standard up, I have had so many people come up and say thank you for the time and effort you’ve put in.

“Whereas a lot of the other stuff you do, Cattle Council sits on 70 or more committees for example, most people don’t realise that, but they are quick to throw rocks when things go wrong.

“I suppose that is why I decided to accept the nomination, because if we can turn this into a celebration of the grassfed beef standard it is also an opportunity to (recognise the work that) a crew of people throughout different parts of the industry have done.”

Despite the successful introduction of the PCAS system, Mr McCamley said there were still battles to be fought to further improve market signals for grassfed producers and to raise the quality bar for consumers.

“Another battle we need to fight is to push out of the impediment of dentition in the language and replace it with the scientific base which a lot of our competitors use which is ossification,” he said.

“When you can have cattle knocked out that are extremely high eating quality which is what the customer wants, and they get discounted by 50, 60, 70c a kilo just because they’ve gained a couple of teeth and based on no science whatsoever, that is a pretty serious problem we still have to overcome.”

Northern cattle producer and immediate past president of the Cattle Council of Australia Greg Brown was one of three people believed to have nominated Mr McCamley, along with well-known beef extension officers Bernie English and Joe Rolfe.

Mr Brown said Mr McCamley was a very worthy winner.

“His involvement and contribution to the industry with regards to the grassfed and pasture standard has been outstanding,” Mr Brown said.

“I’d like to emphasise that this award is recognition for work that has not been for himself, but for the whole of the industry.

“Considering he buys cattle rather than breeds it is going to be harder for him to source cattle to qualify (for the pasturefed standard) than it is for someone who breeds. That will evolve, but he is not able to take immediate advantage of it.”

The Queensland Red Meat Awards is hosted by AgForce to celebrate innovators in the industry, and to highlight excellence from the producer level right through to recognising the retailers and restaurants across the State that serve the best red meat on offer.

AgForce General President Ian Burnett said the 2013 winners were a testament to a progressive and innovative industry.

“The professionalism and innovation in this year’s award winners are instrumental in raising the profile of Queensland beef and sheepmeat in Australia,” Mr Burnett said.

“The awards recognise every vital aspect of the supply and retail chain, ultimately resulting in a much higher quality product for our end consumer.”

2013 Winners

Innovation in Red Meat – Beef Producer of the Year  – Sponsored by Meat & Livestock Australia

Ian McCamley

A fifth generation Queensland beef producer from Rolleston, Ian McCamley is an innovator and advocate for Queensland and Australian beef. Mr McCamley runs a 6750 head cattle operation on 26,000 ha owned and leased. Pastures and stocking rates are carefully managed to achieve 180-220kg annual liveweight gain per head in order for prime MSA and EU steers to be sold for export and domestic trade markets. Mr McCamley utilizes the P8 Fat Scanner in his marketing decision making process which has allowed for long term profitability and sustainability. He also uses Phoenix Live Herd management recording to track individual animals and their performance. An active member of the beef industry, Mr McCamley has been an AgForce Cattle Board Director, a Cattle Council of Australia Councilor, has traveled to Japan and Korea to review MLA marketing by CCA, and has sat on a multitude of industry committees including Biosecurity, Market Access, MSA, and Animal Welfare.

Innovation in Red Meat – Sheepmeat Producer of the Year- Sponsored by Meat & Livestock Australia

Silverwood Organics

Beginning in 1999, Silverwood Organics began diversifying from their Merino operation to a Dorper operation by utilising embryo transplanting. In 2000, they decided to convert their property and sheep enterprise to an Organic grazing system. The process took three years and Silverwood Organics has been certified organic by the ACO for the past 13 years. Embracing the Internet, Silverwood Organics began retail marketing via a store front website. After the purchase of an electronic weighing and drafting machine, Silverwood Organics was able to supply a uniform product to different markets with accurate weights. They also utilise a refrigerated delivery van for home deliveries and weekend markets. Embracing social media has also allowed them to connect with customers and to educate others about issues facing rural and remote Queensland. Silverwood Organics keep educated about the best practices for their land, animals and business by attending business and agricultural information days as well as being a part of industry groups.


Red Meat Industry Emerging Leader – Sponsored by Rabobank

Bronwyn Roberts

Working side-by-side with her parents as a fifth generation beef farmer, Miss Roberts is passionate about implementing best practices to produce economically, environmentally and socially sustainable beef. She also works as the Grazing Land Management Officer with the Fitzroy Basin Association. Rotational grazing is utilized to promote healthy land, clean waterways, pasture growth, and biodiversity. Miss Roberts also uses modern technology such as iPhone apps to record stock movements, production and veterinary treatments. Beyond the farm gate, Miss Roberts embraces social media to help spread the word about agriculture through Facebook, Twitter, blogging and Instagram. She also actively contributes to policy and education resources by acting as a MLA Target 100 Beef Young Farming Champion. In this capacity, she has represented MLA at events such as the Sydney Festival and the recent Regional Flavours festival in South Bank. She’s written numerous articles which have been featured in various magazines, been a keynote speaker at events such as the prestigious Marcus Oldham Rural Leadership Program and Australian Beef Industry Foundation Awards Dinner. Miss Roberts is also an active Art4Agriculture advocate being featured in YouTube videos empowering students and teachers to explore the beef industry.

Innovation in Red Meat – Retailer of the Year – Sponsored by Meat & Livestock Australia

Clancyjames

Clancyjames stocks quality meat products and over 200 complimentary deli lines at four Brisbane locations with 15 employees on staff. Since 2007, Clancyjames has only stocked MSA graded beef for the consistent product and in 2012 started selling MSA graded lamb. They also strive to stock only Australian products. All stores are consistent with the same look and feel with six metres of butchers display, two metres of refrigerated pre-pack display and two freezers. Clancyjames targets the middle to upper socio economic person who is time poor and seeks a consistent quality product. They sell the dining experience and compete for “the centre of the plate.” They are committed to helping advance the beef industry by piloting the MSA4 and MSA5 programs in a retail environment. Clancyjames also has a replacement guarantee, customer loyalty program and a customer email database.


Best Red Meat Restaurant – Regional Award

The Waterline Restaurant

Located on the deck of Keppel Bay Marian in Northern Australia, The Waterline Restaurant truly embraces from paddock to plate. Owned by prominent Central Queensland graziers, Richard and Libbie Wilson, The Waterline Restaurant serves exclusively Banana Station MSA Beef. First opening in 1996, The Waterline has undergone three major expansions to offer quality bistro style dining by day, and transforming into a secluded fine dining venue by night. Executive Chef Matt Smith puts a lot of time into sourcing the best possible ingredients, matching the Banana Station beef and Keppel Bay seafood with specialised ingredients from Australia and overseas. With menu specials changing weekly, The Waterline designs their specials to feature lesser known cuts of beef to add variety and showcase the versatility of beef. They also actively utilize social media to communicate to local media, promote menu specials, and link with industry and community. The Waterline also relaunched their website featuring “Our Beef” as a key part of the dining experience and the restaurants reputation.

 

Best Red Meat Restaurant – Metropolitan

Pig ‘N’ Whistle

Pig ‘N’ Whistle opened in December 2002 by Mantle Group owners Godfrey and Jenny Mantle. Since opening, the team has strived to remove error by cutting out the middle men and dealing directly with local producers. About three years ago, they decided to partner directly with Signature Beef to stock only their exclusive Kimberley Red line. Pig ‘N’ Whistle has actively been promoting beef to its customers through different marketing campaigns. Early this year, Pig ‘N’ Whistle launched their Nose to Tail Beef Appreciation Nights and “So What’s Your Beef” Sunday afternoons. The Nose to Tail Beef Appreciation night included Blair Angus from Signature Beef and the butcher break down two carcases on stage in front of guests discussing each cut and how best to consume the cut. Mantle Group Executive Chef Deniz Coskun interlinked the show with a five course dinner showcasing the new cuts. The “So What’s Your Beef?” night features a different cut of beef, slow roasted on a purpose built spit roast every Sunday afternoon. These events have helped raise awareness, delve further into the paddock to plate practice and, most of all, grown appreciation for quality, local produce.

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