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The gathering of young tertiary students from across Australia recently for the annual Inter-collegiate Meat Judging Competition provided a perfect opportunity to capture some of the dreams, ideals and aspirations of the next generation of young industry professionals and technicians.
An information-packed four-day conference addressed by senior industry leaders, which concluded with the meat judging competition, attracted more than 100 students from eight universities across Australia.
Among them were representatives from the University of Adelaide, Murdoch University, University of New England and Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga where this year’s event was held.
Ten finalists from across the country were short-listed in the annual Intercollegiate Meat Judging Competition (ICMJC).
The conference gave students exposure to the fundamentals of meat science, provided practical knowledge of consumer demand and increased their decision-making confidence.
A sponsor of the event and a leader in the development and management of workforce for the Australian meat industry, AWX had the opportunity to interview the young rising stars.
The young finalists come from various agricultural (and even some city-based) backgrounds and share a strong passion to work in the Australian meat industry.
As such, they see the potential and diverse opportunities to work within the industry – from identifying the best genetics and nutrition to getting the best end result for the consumer, the importance and welfare in live export to the development of new technologies to improve efficiency in production and sustaining a green environment.
So what drives some of the top ten to be a part of the meat industry? Here are some of their responses, and the future areas of industry in which they hope to work:
“Livestock – and the ability of the Australian livestock to feed the world’s growing population. Maximising red meat production in the most sustainable way is going to be increasingly important. The future of producers and processors is very bright as there are many opportunities to improve their breeding programs immensely and also to research and develop innovative technologies to reduce the labour intensity of tasks.”
- Rozzie O’ Reilly, University of New England – future Genetics and Animal Nutrition Specialist
“Coming from a farming family – wanting to contribute and improve the industry.”
- Isaac Allen, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga – future Livestock Production Scientist
“Growing up on a dairy farm, I always had a passion for agriculture and meat production, which is a large contributor to the Australian economy and rural way-of-life. So being able to contribute would be a great career path.”
- Alicia Kemp, Murdoch University – future Veterinarian practising in rural Australia
“With the concern over environmental issues and new carbon tax, people are sceptical of the future of the meat industry.”
Laura Grubb, Murdoch University – future Disease and Pest Management Expert
“New trends (such as vegetarians/ animal-right activists) create negative perceptions of the meat industry, which the industry needs to challenge.”
- Vanessa Campbell, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga – future Beef Production/Live Export Veterinarian
“I think the Australian meat industry is well positioned to benefit from the growing population and I’d like to be a part of this process and do my part to see Australia reach its potential.”
- Overall winner Tim Ryan, from the University of Adelaide.
“Aiming high, but also with their feet firmly on the ground, these young finalists recognise the challenges the meat industry will continue to face when it comes to attracting the next generation of staff,” AWX director Cameron Dart said.
“What all the ten young finalists have in common is their passion to ensure that the Australian red meat industry remains competitive, sustainable and profitable in both national and international marketplaces, and the assurance that Australia rise to the occasion to meet the demands of growing population.”
Supporting the Australian meat industry, AWX is driving employment opportunities to raise the image of the industry as a career path of choice and assist Australia to become the food bowl of the world.
- See Beef Central’s earlier article, “National meat judging team picked for US tour.”