FORMER Australian Agricultural Co managing director Jason Strong has been appointed chief executive officer of prominent large-scale Queensland grainfed beef producer, Smithfield Cattle Co.
Mr Strong left AA Co abruptly and unexpectedly in August last year.
An experienced agribusiness and supply chain executive with a broad skills set covering the entire beef production chain, Mr Strong has had particular impact in areas like innovation and supply chain development. His diverse career has covered hands-on cattle production, meat science, genetics, corporate level pastoral company management, brand development and other fields.
Early in his career he managed the establishment of MSA grading services, owned high-end butcher shops, was involved in commercial and seedstock cattle production and commercialisation of DNA technologies. He later spent two years in Brussels as regional manager for MLA’s Europe region, promoting Australian beef in the UK and across continental Europe, before joining AA Co.
The Smithfield position was not advertised prior to the appointment being made. Mr Strong will operate from the company’s office in Brisbane. The appointment is effective immediately.
Smithfield managing director, Jason Shearer Smith said his business was looking forward to Mr Strong joining the company.
“Jason and I have built a professional and personal relationship over the past 15 years. Having him as part of our business is a great opportunity to drive Smithfield’s continued growth,” Mr Shearer Smith said.
Mr Strong told Beef Central he was looking forward to joining such a well-respected and established family beef industry business. “I’m looking forward to the opportunities we have to further grow and expand the company,” he said.
“It’s rare in agribusiness to come across the opportunity to drop into a well-established, successful family business like this, and to be part of the executive, growing that business to the next level.”
Mr Strong has spent the past few months completing Harvard International Business School and other studies.
Smithfield is a family owned cattle and beef operation which finishes and markets cattle for the domestic and international beef markets. The enterprise turns over between 85,000 to 90,000 grainfed cattle each year, 80 percent of which are company-owned.
Smithfield currently employs 50 staff across its cattle backgrounding, lotfeeding, transport logistics, crop production and consulting businesses. It operates two large commercial feedlots – Smithfield, near Proston in southeast Queensland, and Sapphire near Goondiwindi, plus multiple other owned and leased properties.
The company’s heritage started with the Shearer Smith’s grandfather owning and managing butcher shops in South East Queensland dating back to the late 1920s.
Smithfield is recognised as one of the more progressive cattle companies in Australia. The company holds a large Woolworths supply contract, and was named as Woolworths’ national livestock supplier of the year for 2014 and continues to deliver around 15,000 MSA compliant steers and heifers each year.
Potential exists to significantly increase turnoff capacity with the expansion of Sapphire feedlot to its approved capacity of 20,000 head.
At one point in the late 1990s, Messrs Strong and Shearer Smith were partners in a high-end Brisbane retail butchery, often used as an example of cutting-edge retail trends.
- Jason Strong will speak at next Wednesday’s Livestock Breeding & Genetics Forum in Brisbane. He is slotted into a session on linking genetics to the end product and consumer, covering the topic, “The influence of genetics across the value-chain.” Click here for details
- Click here to view Beef Central’s earlier Top 25 Lotfeeders profile on Smithfield Cattle Co