As part of the centenary editions of the Angus Bulletins, we have been looking back to at Angus Youth and seeing where they are now!
Erica Halliday has a long history with the Angus Youth, with her and her family supporting and assisting in fostering the program since it’s development. We checked in with Erica to see where she is now!
Erica Halliday (nee. Steel)
What is your earliest memory participating in Angus Youth activities?
It was at the very first Roundup run by my Mum and Dad, Bruce and Cherry Steel, and Jason Strong (former University of Illinois winner) in 1986 in Glen Innes. I had the naughtiest heifer at the Roundup called Amelia Bedeilia (after the books the Naughtiest Girl in School). I remember the start of a very long association and respect for Bob Dent as he was one of the instructors. It was Bobby Gregory judging the Paraders, and me winning the Paraders because someone felt sorry for me and gave me a fantastically educated Paraders heifer (unlike mine). The prize was a bright purple cap which I never wore because I felt I hadn’t earned it.
What activity/event stands out to you the most (eg Roundup, leadership clinic, scholarships etc)?
The friends I made and the fun we had, and getting to know the parents of the kids as well. It was like one big family who I still love catching up with. …. Oh, of course there was Bob Dent talking EBV’s again. It took about 4 Roundups for me to start to understand but I’m glad the penny eventually dropped.
In my early 20’s I actually worked as the Youth Coordinator and ran a number of Roundups which is both the hardest and most rewarding job I ever had. Having been on both sides I have a real appreciation for how much work and resources Angus Australia puts into the Roundup and it can be a thankless task, so please be kind and appreciative of them.
In terms of opportunities that you received for being part of Angus Youth, how did your involvement positively influence your development in the beef cattle industry?
I was fortunate enough to attend many educational opportunities in relation to assessing and understanding EBV’s that set me up in the career I have today (and absolutely love), which is breeding and marketing Angus cattle.
I was also fortunate as a result of Angus Youth to have won the National Junior Judging Scholarship, which tookme to the University of Illinois to study Beef Production and Marketing, which again I use all the time and just love doing. I also went on to have the valuable experience of working in a feedlot and abattoir.
Due to the kindness of one of my hosts in the US, Martin Jorgensen, I also had the opportunity to judge the Braunviehs at Denver which set up a wonderful Judging career back home for me in Australia. None of this would have been possible without Angus Youth and I am eternally grateful to them.
What were the key learnings you developed as a member of Angus Youth, through the program and then the additional scholarship experiences that you had?
How important a foot in the door is. How important it is to make connections and how enjoyable it is to make friendships. How much enjoyment and satisfaction you can get out of doing something you love. The importance of listening and learning from people with experience. The importance of respecting different idea’s and views, and the value of hard work.
How are you involved in the beef cattle industry now/ where are you now?
My husband Stu and I and our family have taken over Ben Nevis Angus from my parents. It is one of Australia’s oldest Angus studs and we have developed a Yearling Bull Program that sells bulls from North Queensland, to central Australia, down to Tasmania and even New Zealand. We run over 900 cows (300 Stud), and target the Jap B3, and branded beef markets with our progeny.I am also a Director of Angus Australia, and Chairman of Youth and Marketing within that. I love being able to give back and still be involved.
Why would you encourage others to become involved in the Angus Youth Program?
To make friends, create opportunities for themselves and to soak up all the knowledge available to them through the educational programs and people associated with our amazing breed.