People on the Move: Recent industry appointments, retirements, achievements

Beef Central, 08/12/2015
  • Chairman returns to lead Beef Australia 2018
  • New president for Wagyu breeders
  • Beaufort River Meats’ new GM at
  • New buyer for LSS Hillside Meats
  • PPP’s ag young guns inspire
  • Canadian heads Global Sustainability Roundtable
  • Scholarship benefits young beef industry leaders
  • Producers named to lead southern Western Australia livestock R&D

New Board announced for Beef Australia 2018

Central Queensland cattleman Blair Angus will return for a second three-year term as chairman of Rockhampton’s Beef Australia 2018 national industry expo, following the body’s recent annual meeting.

Blair Angus

Blair Angus

There is some transition evident in the board, with two new members added and three existing ones stepping back. Joining the board are Central Queensland beef producer and former state MP, Bruce Young, and Rockhampton stock agent Richard Brosnan. Retiring from the Beef Australia Board are beef producer Joy Deguara (nine years), Carol Ellrott (nine years) and Allied Beef’s James Maclean (six years).

Bruce Young is well known in the CQ region having been a Queensland Member of Parliament from 2012 to 2015 and a primary producer since 1994. Richard Brosnan is the principal of Ray White Rural Rockhampton, with 25 years rural industry experience in property, livestock and finance sectors of Australian agribusiness.

Beef Australia chair Blair Angus welcomed the new appointments and congratulated the retiring Board Members whom he acknowledged had all made an outstanding contribution to the event over many years. The Beef 2018 board also includes Bryce Camm and Russell Hughes (vice chairs); Ken Murphy (secretary); Noel Grant, Brett Kirk, Allison McKay, Jenny Russell and Chris Todd.


New president for Wagyu breeders

Peter Gilmour

Peter Gilmour

Western Australian businessman and Wagyu breeder Peter Gilmour is the new president of the Australian Wagyu Association, following the AWA’s recent annual meeting. Mr Gilmour replaces South Australian Scott de Bruin, who has retired from the board to manage his rapidly expanding Wagyu interests along with the broader de Bruin Group.

Mr Gilmour thanked Mr de Bruin for his outstanding contribution to the breed during his time on the board, evidenced by the breed’s rapid growth and demand in the Australian beef industry.

Four years spent living and working in Japan in the 1990s introduced Mr Gilmour to the “wonders of Wagyu beef and its amazing eating quality and health benefits,” he said.

His business, Irongate Wagyu near Albany, has been working to expand Wagyu supply chains in Western Australia for both domestic and export markets.

Other AWA office holders following last week’s AGM elections include John Hammond, Robbins Island, Tasmania (senior vice president); Chantal Winter, Macquarie Downs, Queensland (junior vice president); Stephen Binnie, NSW (treasurer).  As the result of annual rotation and retirements, three new members have joined the Wagyu board –Stephen Binnie (NSW), Joanne Christiansen (QLD) and Jason Lewis (QLD). Two existing boardmembers were re-elected by rotation – Ron Fitzgerald (QLD) and John Spreadborough (QLD).


New GM at Beaufort River Meats

Western Australian integrated agribusiness Wellard recently appointed Kelly Whitehouse as its general manager – meat processing and trading.

Mr Whitehouse, who has more than 20 years’ experience in the meat processing industry, will oversee Wellard’s meat division, including operations at the company’s Beaufort River Meats abattoir near Kojonup, WA, and its growing meat (beef, mutton and lamb) trading business.

Wellard recently processed its one millionth head of livestock through its Kojonup (WA) abattoir, Beaufort River Meats, three years after purchasing the abattoir. The majority of the stock processed at BRM is mutton, sheep and lambs. The remainder of the throughput includes rams, goats and some deer. Previously BRM only supplied frozen product, however Wellard has developed an air freight chilled carcase trade to the Middle East.

Prior to starting with Wellard, Mr Whitehouse was working at New Zealand meat processor and exporter Taylor Preston, which processes 1.5 million sheep and 65,000 cattle annually. He has 30 years’ experience in the meat industry, in processing and marketing of sheep and beef products around the world.

His experience as both a meat marketing manager and an operations manager was well suited to Wellard’s requirements, company chief executive Mauro Balzarini said.

Mr Whitehouse is currently implementing a series of processing improvements at the Beaufort River plant to further increase throughput. His experience is also being utilised to finalise the design of Wellard’s Wellao joint venture abattoir in China.

“The processing upgrades at BRM are timely, as the Beaufort River Meats holds an export licence for  China and we are starting to gain a foothold in that market. The upgrades will ensure we can deliver on the increase in demand,” Mr Balzarini said.


PPP’s ag young guns inspire

Six impressive young farm sector stakeholders from Australia and New Zealand have been shortlisted for the 2016 Zanda McDonald Award, to be presented at the annual PPP Conference in Wellington, New Zealand next March. The six were selected for their strong leadership skills, innovative drive and vision for agriculture.

The three Australian finalists for the 2016 award include:

David Maconochie

David Maconochie

David Maconochie, 30, the general manager of Hopkins River Beef based in Dunkeld, Victoria. David recently opened a french-inspired bistro with HRB business partner Adam North and restauranteur Jason M Jones. He is a former Young Lot Feeder Achiever of the Year.

Wesley Lefroy, 24, a soil scientist with Precision SoilTech working throughout the wheat belt of Western Australia. He is also secretary of networking group AgConnectWA. Wesley is a regular speaker at local events and farm field days.

Dennis Harrington, 35, a farm manager on his 1330ha prime lamb and cropping property in Ararat, Victoria. Dennis is an early-adopter of farm management systems and, more recently, drone technology.

The three recently attended an interview in Brisbane with the Zanda McDonald Award judging panel. They now go head-to-head for a finalist place against three equally impressive young New Zealand candidates.

Award judge and chairman of the Platinum Primary Producers group Shane McManaway said all six candidates impressed the judges.

“Each displayed a solid mix of intellect, understanding, drive, ambition, passion as well as strong leadership traits. These young people are doing some amazing work and are leading the charge on taking agriculture to the next level,” Mr McManaway said.

“The Zanda McDonald Award is all about helping agriculture’s future leaders unleash their career potential for the greater good of the industry. Our task now is to choose three finalists, and then select a winner – who would clearly benefit from the mentoring program prize package.”

Judges this year were Emily Crofoot from Wairarapa’s Castlepoint Station, Julie McDonald, MDH Pty Ltd, Troy Setter, Consolidated Pastoral Co, Charlie de Fegely, respected Victorian livestock producer and Allflex’s Pat Gunston agreed that the calibre of award entrants shows that agriculture in Australasia was in a good hands.

New buyer for LSS Hillside Meats

Meanwhile, in other recruitment news out of the WA processing industry, Livestock Shipping Services (LSS) and its processing arm, Hillside Meat Processors has appointed a new livestock buyer, as demand for red meat grows internationally and domestically drives demand for livestock.

The company’s new sheep buyer is former Elders Williams agent Mark Mahney, who joined the buying team recently. Working mainly as head livestock buyer for Hillside, Mr Mahney will remain based at Williams. LSS sheep livestock manager Dean Hubbard said the arrival of Mr Mahney to the team came as both divisions of the group were expanding.

“The expanded buying team has given us a more focussed approach for both the LSS live export and Hillside buying requirements,” he said. “Mr Mahney’s prime responsibility is to oversee the continuous and ongoing supply of quality lamb for our Hillside facility.”

Originally a sheep producer from rural Victoria, Mr Mahney moved to WA in 1988.


New president for Global Sustainability Roundtable

Directors of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef have elected Canadian Cattlemens Association executive vice president Dennis Laycraft as the body’s new president.

Mr Laycraft, a well-known spokesman for the beef cattle industry in Canada, has extensive experience in the areas of trade, product safety and animal disease issues. He has been active on both the national and international levels, addressing issues impacting Canada’s beef producers for several years.

“The Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef has established itself as the global meeting area for discussions on defining and identifying sustainable beef production. Given this accomplishment, the GRSB is moving forward into a new era, and the development of a strategic plan is needed going forward,” Mr Laycraft said.

“Supporting the establishment of new national or regional roundtables and initiatives, as well as helping coordinate and connect an international sustainability research strategy are roles that I feel the GRSB is well suited to take on,” he said.

Also voted in to GRSB leadership positions were the World Wildlife Fund’s Carlos Saviani, elected as vice president, and Cameron Bruett, JBS, elected as an executive committee member-at-large.

Forrest Roberts, former CEO of the US National Cattlemens Beef Association and retiring GRSB president, said GRSB had made tremendous progress since its founding in 2012. “Building on GRSB’s definition of sustainable beef adopted a year ago, there is momentum among the regional roundtables in Brazil, Canada, and the US to do the hard work of developing indicators and metrics to measure sustainability in the beef value chain and GRSB will need to be engaged in order to provide any needed guidance,” he said.


Scholarship benefits young beef industry leaders

Two young leaders in the Australian beef industry have been announced as winners of the 2016 CM Hocking Memorial Scholarship from Herefords Australia.

Queenslanders Emily Rabone, of Gatton, and Kate Reid, of Millmerran, will share the $5000 scholarship bursary to undertake studies to benefit the Australian Hereford industry.

Emily Rabone

Emily Rabone

Emily, 18, named as the 2015-2016 Queensland Ambassador, is secretary of the Northern NSW Youth Group and works as a governess near Mitchell, Qld.

She has also jillarooed for Angus and Eunice Vivers, Jindalee Herefords, Inverell, NSW, assisting with sale preparation and showing.

Emily is due to start a double degree in agriculture and business at the University of New England with the aim of a pursuing a career in cattle genetics.

Kate Reid, 20, is in the third year of an animal science degree at the University of New England, and comes from a family who have bred Herefords for more than 60 years.

Kate’s Honours project focuses on the rate of bovine respiratory disease in feedlot cattle compared to on-board shipment.

“I was originally aiming to pursue a career in feedlot nutrition but will now focus on the live export trade,’’ she said.

Kate served as treasurer and secretary of Herefords Queensland Youth Association, and acted as a cattle ring steward at the 2014 Sydney Royal Easter Show.


Producers named to lead southern Western Australia livestock R&D

Six Western Australian livestock producers who will drive the collection of research, development and adoption needs from local regions across the south of the state were recently announced as producer committee members of the WA Livestock Research Council (WALRC).

WALRC has been created as part of a new consultation model designed by industry to better capture grassroots producer feedback on where R&D investment is required.

The group will join the Southern Australia Meat Research Council (SAMRC) and the existing North Australia Beef Research Council (NABRC) as key bodies to pass on feedback from producers to the Red Meat Panel for consideration in setting R&D priorities.  It is supported by MLA as well as co-investors CSIRO, University of Western Australia, Curtin University and Murdoch University.

MLA General Manager, Livestock Productivity, Jane Weatherley, said the committee members announced would help their local producers have direct input into the investment of industry levies.

“MLA is committed to giving producers a much stronger role in determining the way their levies are spent and ensuring investment in R&D continues to deliver beneficial outcomes for industry in the short and long term,” Ms Weatherley said. “Through the creation of WALRC we’re implementing a system that engages producers, others across the supply chain and co-investors.”

One of the new committee members Erin Gorter, recently elected to the board of MLA, has been named WALRC Coordinator. She has represented Western Australian producers on national bodies extensively in pasture and meat production systems.  As principal of agVivo events she provides events management services to the agricultural sector and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors program.

Other WALRC Producer Committee members include:

Craig Forsyth: Craig is a cattle producer from ‘Avoca’ in the Dongara area approximately 400km north of Perth.  He and his family background 3000 cattle which are on-sold to other producers in addition to maintaining a core breeding herd of 300.  Craig is chair of the Mingenew Irwin Group which focuses on local R&D, environment and education.   A long-running interest in R&D inspired Craig to become part of WALRC to help drive R&D within the Western Australian livestock industries.

John Fry: John is a beef producer from Donnybrook who specialises in breeding and finishing yearling cattle.  He holds a particular interest in value-based marketing and the use of initiatives such as Meat Standards Australia to drive price signals.  He is committed to encouraging producers to adopt science to improve business performance. John is a former Nuffield scholar, a former WA Beef Improvement Association chairman served as WA representative on the Beef CRC 2 Advisory Committee.

Jessica Horstman: Jessica farms with her parents on 3200ha near Northampton where they operate a poll merino stud, run poll dorset crossbred lambs and crop 1300ha.  She holds a Bachelor of Land Management from the University of Sydney and a Graduate Certificate in Agriculture from the University of New England and has previously worked for the Department of Agriculture and Food as a hydrologist.  Jessica is also one of a select group of Australian wool growers to feature in a series of short films made on behalf of Australian Wool Innovation.

Gina Micke: Originally from Moora, Gina has extensive animal production and R&D experience including a PhD in beef cattle nutrition from The University of Queensland. A degree in veterinary science led her to work in clinical practice in NSW, Queensland and the UK before returning to WA to apply her knowledge of livestock management, health and nutrition to roles in corporate agribusiness. Her current role with the West Midlands Group as Livestock Production and Innovation Manager and her continued involvement in her family’s sheep operation give her a thorough understanding of the practicalities and challenges faced by the livestock sector.

John Wallace: John runs 6000ha of cattle, sheep and grain in the Esperance region as part of a family partnership operation.  He has a long-standing commitment to R&D and improvement of the livestock industries through his involvement in the Association for Sheep Husbandry, Excellence, Evaluation and Production Group.  He is the current Meat President of the Western Australian Farmers’ Association, is chair of Grain and Graze program in WA and sits on the Sheepmeat Council of Australia.

Mark Forrester: Mark runs around 8000 cattle on two certified organic pastoral properties on the Nullarbor. He is committed to the forming of partnerships between likeminded producers, processors and retailers with the aim of encouraging and developing an effective, profitable and durable Western Australian Organic Beef supply Chain. He is a member of the WA Beef Council.


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