FORMER Droughtmaster Stud Breeders Society chief executive Neil Donaldson passed away last week after a period of poor health, aged 66.
Mr Donaldson spent 22 years at the helm of the Droughtmaster breed, steering it towards both financial security and greater popularity among commercial cattle breeders across northern Australia. He took the helm of the society in 1997, succeeding the late John Boydell.
Neil had a varied and colourful career in the livestock industry, starting as a livestock salesman with Primac (later to merge with Elders), travelling extensively throughout southern and western Queensland based out of branches at Wandoan, Oakey, Quilpie and Murgon. He later had six years’ experience in Papua New Guinea with Primac’s subsidiary company New Guinea Pastoral Supplies, before management appointments at Primac Theodore, Eidsvold and Biloela branches.
Neil’s extensive livestock industry experience also included stints in the early days of Computer Aided Livestock Marketing (CALM, now AuctionsPlus) as a field officer; as well as several years as assistant livestock manager (Feedlots) with Australia Meat Holdings. He later held a contract with Meat & Livestock Australia and Queensland DPI as a consultant on a number of projects.
He joined the Droughtmaster Society as chief executive in 1997, and over the next 22 years helped guide the Society to financial stability and solid membership growth. Membership increased by 70pc and female inventory by 82pc over the two decades he was involved.
Neil became a Life Member of the Droughtmaster Society last year, presented during a short ceremony at the annual National Droughtmaster Female Sale at Gympie.
The Droughtmaster Stud Breeders’ Society’s sales & events manager Leigh Eleison worked with Neil for thirteen years, while he was at the society’s helm.
“Droughtmasters are able to celebrate their sixtieth anniversary in 2022 largely due to Neil’s dedication to the breed,” she said. “Neil’s knowledge of our members, the cattle and the Australian bush was second to none. Neil was a true gentleman, an innovator and tireless advocate of the Droughtmaster breed.”
Droughtmaster Stud Breeders’ Society CEO Simon Gleeson, said it was a very sad time for the Donaldson family and the members of the Droughtmaster Society.
“For more than 20 years, Neil was instrumental in developing the breed and Society. He was very well respected in the industry,” Mr Donaldson said.
His second wife Joanne pre-deceased him in February. He is survived by his children Sandy, Will and Georgia.
Funeral arrangements will be added here, when they are advised.