WHEN beef industry stalwart John Carter founded the Australian ICMJ more than 30 years ago, he could count on one hand the number of people with university degrees working in Australian meat processing facilities.
Today, his own grandchildren are among the hundreds of Australian university students and young professionals supported into red meat careers through the ICMJ program each year.
“It’s a great thrill,” Mr Carter said of his family’s continuing involvement in ICMJ.
“It really has been a terribly exciting journey.”
In 1983, Mr Carter travelled to the United States as part of a Churchill Fellowship and saw firsthand how the country’s highly competitive Intercollegiate Meat Judging Program was an effective tool for recruiting and developing future leaders in the red meat industry.
After returning to Australia, he was appointed Chairman of the New South Wales Meat Authority and soon established the Australian ICMJ.
The first competition was held in 1990 at Glenmore Meats in Glebe, Sydney, where Mr Carter’s son, Ben was part of the University of New England meat judging team.
After ICMJ, Ben went on to a successful career in the global red meat supply chain.
He did a trainee management program at The Midcoast Meat Co (Midco) and went on to work for other companies such as AA Co and Grill’d, and now runs his own beef supply chain consultancy as well as the family’s beef cattle property near Crookwell, NSW.
The Carter family property, Lake Edward has one of the oldest registered cattle fire brands in Australia (EC), registered in 1853.
In 2022, Mr Carter’s granddaughter and Ben’s daughter, Sarah Carter, an agricultural science student at the University of Queensland, was one of more than 100 participants at the ICMJ National Conference and Competition in Wagga Wagga.
Her brother, James Carter, a production and livestock officer with the Australian Agricultural Co, also attended the 2022 ICMJ Northern Conference in Rockhampton as an industry participant.
Sarah said she was proud to be part of her grandfather’s legacy.
“My grandfather started a program that educates and inspires the next generation in the meat industry, and I was honoured to participate this year,” Sarah said.
“It was exciting for James and me to be the third generation in our family to be part of ICMJ and I hope to continue to be part of ICMJ in the future and carry on my grandfather’s legacy.”
John Carter was a guest of honour at the ICMJ National Competition Gala Awards Dinner in July where he presented the John Carter Founders Buckle to the individual overall meat judging champion, Katya Zapf from the University of Queensland, who finished ahead of Cole Petit from West Texas A&M.
“Over the years we’ve had teams from the US, Japan, Indonesia, Korea and Pakistan come to Australia to compete, so it really has turned into something special,” Mr Carter said.
“(When I first started ICMJ) I was hoping we’d get to where we are today, but it has happened in a far more spectacular fashion than I anticipated,” Mr Carter said.
ICMJ’s mission is to inspire and develop the next generation of leaders in the global red meat industry through its extensive program of competitions and events.
ICMJ activities are supported by foundation partners Meat & Livestock Australia and the Australian Meat Processor Corporation, and a range of industry sponsors.