Leadership, vision and humility were the standout qualities that resulted in northern NSW Wagyu cattle breeder Charlie Perry being announced as the 2022 Australian Zanda McDonald Award winner yesterday.
Mr Perry, who lives and works on his family owned and operated Trent Bridge Wagyu beef property farm near Guyra, returned to his passion for agriculture after a successful career in business consulting, and hasn’t looked back.
Since taking over management of his family enterprise in 2016, he’s overseen substantial growth in the family business, despite some of the worst years of drought on record, with a focus on productivity gains, genetic indicators and sustainability.
He also serves as the current president of the Australian Wagyu Association, representing Wagyu breeders, lotfeeders and other supply chain stakeholders across the nation.
Now in its eighth year, the Zanda McDonald Award supports talented and passionate young professionals in the ag sector from Australia and New Zealand.
Mr Perry will receive $10,000 towards further education and a trans-Tasman prize package centred around mentoring, education and training that is tailored to his needs.
Award chairman Richard Rains said Mr Perry demonstrated all the key qualities that epitomised the award, which stood him above an outstanding field of finalists.
“His passion for agriculture is obvious, and has resulted in him significantly growing his family seedstock business, while being active in both his local community and industry associations,” Mr Rains said.
“He has a clear understanding of the challenges that face both his business and the industry, and is providing cohesion and leadership through his involvement in the AWA.”
“Charlie is an accomplished communicator, yet at the same time humble, and as judges, we’re really excited about his future.”
“I’m so thrilled, and feel very honoured to have this opportunity,” Mr Perry said after receiving the award.
“The trans-Tasman mentoring trip in particular will be of huge assistance to me, and I know I’ll learn so much from that experience both personally and professionally. I’m keen to use the education package to align with my skills gaps and growth, and also to improve my social media skills, so I can play an influential role through the stories I share and the work we do.”
This year’s award interviews and presentation were held at Orange, NSW at a dinner on Thursday night, following the New Zealand award being announced the week prior.
Charlie Perry was initially named a finalist alongside Kate McBride, 23, fifth generation farmer and station hand at Tolarno Station, and researcher at The Australia Institute, from Western NSW; Gavin Rodman, 28, District Manager – Far North, Sugar Research Australia, from Cairns; and Jeremy Cummins, 34, owner and manager for feedlot and backgrounding business Bottlejac Trading Company in Gunnedah, North West NSW.
As the Australian 2022 winner, Mr Perry will receive a professional development package that includes an all-expenses paid trans-Tasman mentoring trip to high-performing farms and businesses in Australia and NZ, $10,000 towards further education, and incredible networking opportunities.
He will travel by a Pilatus PC-12 aircraft to parts of his mentoring trip, enabling him to reach diverse and remote farming operations on both sides of the Tasman.
The Award would normally crown one winner from across Australasia, but in response to COVID-19 related travel restrictions, separate Australian and NZ winners were crowned this year.
Rhys Roberts was announced as the NZ 2022 winner last week, and both Messrs Roberts and Perry will undertake their mentoring trips over the next 12 months.
Congratulations Charlie- As a worthy recipient of the Zander award you are joining a growing group of generational leaders.
Congratulations Charlie. Well done!