ARCBA Young Breed Leaders Workshop Wrap Up

November 11, 2019 11:28 am

Damien Thomson, Ruby Canning and Rebecca George recently attended the ARCBA Young Breed Leaders Workshop Scholarship, after being awarded the Angus Youth ARCBA Scholarship, provided by the Angus Foundation.

The workshop took place in Armidale on October 28-30.

Read their wrap ups from the workshop here:

Damien Thomson

Thanks to Angus Australia I was able to attend the ARCBA Young Breed Leaders Workshop which ran from the 28th to the 30th of October in Armidale, NSW. The workshop brought together young leaders from 16 different breeds for 2.5 days of informative and inspiring talks as well as discussion topics and farm visits.

The first day started with networking and a survey of the group including some questions about the breed societies and the industry to establish some background information of the group. We then had a discussion and presented on the topic ‘Will breed societies be viable in 20 years’ time?’ many interested points were raised while the general consensus was that yes, they would be viable, but would have to adapt with the industry and perform slightly different roles.

We then visited the University of New England’s ‘SMART Farm’ and listened to talks about all the research and development taking place at the SMART farm and all the amazing science behind the technologies. We also heard from Peter McGilchrist about all thing’s meat science including Meat Standards Australia grading and new carcass scanning technology such as DEXA. We then heard about the application of Genomics to breeding from Cationa Millen from SBTS and Genomic services provided by Neogen from Hannah Bourke.

Early Tuesday morning we bused to Bald Blair Angus to hear from Sam White about the selection and marketing technologies he uses including Matesel using TACE EBV’s. He showed us how he has made genetic progress over time and how this was clearly evident in the carcass results coming back from the abattoir. We also heard from Charlie Perry from ‘Trent Bridge’ Wagyu stud who are using similar genetic technologies to create a competitive advantage with marbling. Alf Collins Snr also spoke to us about how he has significantly improved the fertility of his Brahman herd in Queensland through strict selection.

For the rest of the day we heard from Michael Crowley from MLA about supply chain management and particularly the link between genetics at the breeder end all the way through to consumer outcomes. We also heard from Peter Parnell on the role of Angus Australia in the early development of branded beef and how that role has transformed into breed verification services for angus branded beef. We had further discussion amongst the whole group about the role of breed branded beef and breed societies in supply chain management. Branded beef was an area that I had not previously had any experience or knowledge in so I found this afternoon of discussion particularly beneficial.

This led onto a group discussion on how to create generational change in the registered cattle industry to create more opportunity for young breeders. Each group presented with some good ideas on how we can encourage more young people to get involved with breeding, breed and show societies and how to give them opportunities to develop their knowledge and skills for the future. Lastly for the second day, we were given hypothetic scenarios of commercial or seedstock beef enterprises and in our groups, put together a strategic plan for that scenario using everything we had learnt from the last two days. These were presented the next morning which provided a good recap on what had been covered.

We finished off with a talk from Cameron Crowley from Moin & Associates, Armidale about the legal responsibility of board members in breed societies. We had a discussion about what more ARCBA can do to stimulate positive change and opportunities for young breeders before having lunch with various breed society personnel.

Overall, the workshop was a great experience and I am truly grateful to Angus Australia for the opportunity. I was able to develop my own knowledge that I can now take back home to the family stud. I particularly took away the growing influence of genomics and how it will be applied to modern breeding. Also, the importance in focussing on outcomes and using them to inform decisions. I made connections with people that I would not have otherwise met and I gained a greater perspective of opportunities, challenges and developments of other breeds and in different areas of Australia. I would strongly encourage all young people in our industry to get involved in as much as possible. Events such as the ARCBA young breed leaders workshop and opportunities provided by Angus Australia should not be missed.

Ruby Canning

The Young Breed Leaders Workshop was an eye-opening experience into the opportunities within the beef industry, as well as an insightful view into the purpose and the roles within breed societies. The discussion opportunities, field trips to the UNE Smart Farm & Bald Blair Angus, along with networking, encouraged thought provoked conversations, and allowed us to share thoughts and ideas amongst other passionate individuals. The wide breadth of topics gave participants a holistic view of the industry, and I am so grateful for Angus Youth Australia for providing me with the opportunity to attend, and I’d like to say thank you to the facilitators of the event.

Topics discussed throughout the forum by a range of industry leaders included collaborating our thoughts about if we believe breed societies will be viable in 20 years, the theory behind modern genomic technologies, carcass quality, supply chain management, marketing, generational change, and legal responsibilities for Board Members. Intertwined throughout the event we had the opportunity to network with presenters and facilitators, including Dr. Michael Bradfield from South Africa, Mr Alex McDonald – Executive Director of ARCBA, Mr Michael Crowley from MLA, Sam White from Bald Blair Angus and Alf Collins from CBV Brahmans.  Invaluable conversations which were had with these industry professionals were definitely a highlight for me personally, and the time they spent sharing their knowledge was greatly appreciated.

The visit to Bald Blair Angus emphasised the importance of applied research within their successful herd, along with balancing the importance of phenotype when selecting cattle. Sam White’s presentation was filled with love and passion for the seedstock industry and their family operation, and it was evident that their business embraces and utilises modern technology. The importance of long-term relationships, and understanding customer needs, along with the key values of country, cattle and community were highlighted throughout the presentation. The presentation was a true testament to Bald Blairs dedication to their stud, and also future generations of the beef industry.

Supply chain management and branded beef was a key section of our presentations. The 2025 vision of the red meat value chain was addressed in Michael Crowley’s (MLA) presentation. His presentation highlighted that us as producers need to understand what is driving consumer preference. There was also discussion about meat specifications and new technologies. The development of technology allows for precision, therefore contributing to decision making in relation to objective carcass measurements. Understandably consistency, reliability, and precision are key aspects of advanced technologies. The flow chart of whole farm systems, the value chain approach and linking genetics to consumer outcomes put into perspective the ability to include genomics as an important aspect of beef production and profitability.  Peter Parnell further discussed that verification and branding strengthens the integrity and confidence in the Angus breed. Critical control points throughout the supply chain from the producer to the consumer contributes to ensuring the products integrity. For now, and for the future of verified Angus Beef, there is an importance for building brand recognition, along with consumer loyalty and trust, and establishing strong long-term supply channels.

Alf Collins provided us with an insightful presentation which informed us about his management and breeding goals and objectives at CBV Brahmans. He informed us about his operation, and how land improvement was an essential part of the development of the business.  Alf reiterated that “there are no magic bullets” and to make change, there needs to focus upon the fundamentals which can be controlled and managed. Alfs passion for his cattle, and the for the industry is sensational, and it was wonderful to meet him.

Previous to the event I had applied for the Arthur Rickards Young Beef Breed Leaders Scholarship. I was thankful to be shortlisted alongside Sarah Day & Hayden Green, and to have had the opportunity to be interviewed by a panel of judges, who are all influential individuals within the beef industry. Arthur’s contribution to the beef industry, and ARCBA was widely discussed at the workshop, and it underlined his legacy which continues. It was lovely to meet his son Gareth at the presentation dinner. Congratulations to Hayden for receiving the scholarship, you are a mentor for many within the industry, and to be in the top three with two individuals that I have looked up to since I was a young girl was an honour.

I departed the workshop feeling open minded and inspired about the future of our beef industry, and I enjoyed the time getting to meet and share ideas with other individuals, and other fellow Angus Youth scholars. I am immensely grateful for all the opportunities through Angus Youth Australia. The contacts and knowledge that I have gained from the workshop will be incredibly beneficial and applicable for my future within the Australian beef industry.

Rebecca George

From the 28th to the 30th of October I attended the Young Breed Leaders Workshop hosted by the Australian Registered Cattle Breeders Association. The workshop was held in Armidale, NSW and featured three days of group work and informative talks on a variety of topics relevant to the beef industry.

The workshop kicked off on the morning of Monday the 28th where we started with an instant survey of the group of attendees and some discussion of the results. Next up we jumped into the first of our group work sessions for the workshop. This groupwork was designed to reflect a breed society board situation with each group assigning a chairperson and a recorder. We covered three topics across three different sessions during the workshop in this format. I found the group work to be really interesting as we got to collaborate with other young people from all different parts of the country and the industry. I also enjoyed the chance to discuss topics and work on projects in a formal board meeting style. For lunch we headed out to the UNE ‘Smart Farm’ where we had ‘Hereford Boss’ steak sandwiches. We spent the afternoon at the Smart Farm where we heard from lecturer Jamie Barwick about the types of research happening at UNE. We also heard from Catriona Millen from Southern Beef Technology Services who ran us through the scientific process behind genomics and how genomic testing in cattle works. I found this session particularly useful as it took us back to the basics of the science behind genomics and allowed us to really understand this to be able to use genomics better within the industry.

We then had an early morning start the next day to head out to Bald Blair Angus where we heard from owner/ manager Sam White. Sam spoke to us about the technologies in use at Bald Blair and ran us through how they make their mating and cattle selection decisions. His wife Kirsty spoke to us about their marketing approach including the use of different social media platforms. Sam and Kirsty’s passion and enthusiasm for the industry is contagious and definitely inspired many questions and discussions during our visit. On our bus trip back into town we heard from Alf Collins Snr from CBV Brahmans. Alf spoke to us of his cattle breeding journey in northern Australia which has a tight focus on fertility. Alf was with us for the majority of the workshop meaning we got to hear his thought on other topics discussed and throw questions his way over the three days. In the afternoon we had a session presented by The Land on ‘getting your message across’. This looked at the effectiveness of different types of advertising and how internet advertising works. I found this session to be very valuable as marketing has changed a lot since smartphones have become more popular. I think understanding who you are marketing to and the most appropriate way to carry that out is extremely important to producers. We then had the workshop dinner where we ate branded angus beef steaks. At the dinner the Hayden Green was announced as the recipient of the Arthur Rickards Scholarship, Congratulations Hayden!

On the final day of the workshop we kicked off with each group presenting their project proposal to a panel of judges. This was followed by a session on the legal requirements and framework of boards and board members presented by Cameron Cowley of Moin Morris Shaeffer. This session helped us understand the legalities of breed societies and what is expected from board members.

The 2019 ARCBA Young Breed Leaders Workshop was a valuable three days that allowed me to further both my knowledge and networks in the beef industry. I really enjoyed collaborating with other young breeders from different breeds on topics that affect the broader industry. I would like to thank Angus Australia for giving me this opportunity to further develop my skills in the beef sector.

Feature Image: Rebecca George, Damien Thomson, Ruby Canning and Angus Australia Youth Development Officer Candice Liddle