With the generous support from the Angus Australia Foundation, earlier this year Angus Youth was able to award two scholarships to the Angus National Conference. Members Laura Grubb and Anna White were the recipients of these new scholarships and recently spent three days down in the border town of Albury with Angus producers and industry professionals from around the world.
Both Laura and Anna had the opportunity to discuss the future for the Australia beef industry and the direction the Angus breed is heading. The feedback received from both of the girls was extremely positive, with Laura and Anna gaining a great deal of knowledge out of attending the conference that will be beneficial for both their personal and professional lives.
Competition and opportunity. I believe these two words sum up the main themes of discussion at the 2016 Angus National Conference. Firstly I believe that the conference organisers should be applauded for their ability to secure such a calibre of speakers and facilitate such a constructive environment for discussion. Currently I am transitioning from solely a producer based mindset to a processor mindset with a progression in career. Therefore I found it interesting to see how the producers interacted with the processing sector, in terms of questions they had and their opinions of where they’d like to see the industry going. I hope I may be able to take some of this insight back to my daily work.
The speakers were all incredibly relevant – especially so in their discussion of the future of the Australian beef industry and where the Angus breed fits into this. Competition and opportunity was addressed on both a domestic and international scale. I believe it important for producers to understand that we in Australia are no longer just dealing on a domestic level but we have increasing opportunities in both beef and genetics in the international market. By presenting this idea to producers and providing them with information on how to tap into this market, as well as what consumers are looking for, will give Angus producers an edge moving forward.
However the most beneficial part of this conference for me was talking to the producers during breaks and hearing how they thought this new information impacted on their businesses. The opinions were varied and it was interesting to see how each individual operation was steering their herd into the future. The trade area also opened up discussion on the new technologies available and what experiences different producers had had with these new technologies.
Overall I believe this conference further expanded my network within the beef industry and provided me with a platform to learn more about the beef sector and how the Angus breed works within this. I feel that not only myself but all the producers who attended the conference, left with new ideas and knowledge as well as a new level of enthusiasm as to the future of the Angus breed.
The 2016 Angus National Conference held in Albury on the 19th and 20th of May was a success. The two day conference had guest speakers from all areas of the industry ranging from market analysts, feedlot managers and representatives from the retail sector. This gave producers and other conference attendees the opportunity to ask some tough questions about the future of the beef industry. It was an exciting time to be attending such an enlightening conference with an extensive amount of new technology available to cattle producers, and good prices and rainfall predictions for the next couple of months.
The conference was a challenging experience, questioning seed stock and commercial producers on their current practices and potential possibilities to improve efficiency and productivity whilst continuing to produce a safe quality product that is sympathetic to the surrounding environment. However the underlying message was clear, the outlook for the industry is bright, so producers should place themselves to make the most of the available opportunities. The conference gave me the chance to experience the diversity of the Angus beef industry. I was able to appreciate that there is no one size fits all in beef production. Small businesses and large corporate companies will have different production techniques and management objectives, but all have the common goal to produce a quality product that will satisfy the customer consistently.
The diverse range of speakers gave attendees a vast cross section of the Angus beef supply chain and production systems. One speaker that I thought particularly stood out was Tracey Monaghan, Senior Director of Supply Chain for McDonalds. Tracey discussed previous marketing methods including the sale of “Grand Angus” beef burgers to create the image of McDonalds selling a premium gourmet product. McDonalds are creating a story to sell to the consumer. Ms Monaghan emphasized the need for quality assurance throughout the supply chain to ensure that a ‘safe quality product’ is sold every time. I believe this is a very important message for producers as consumers continue to have a growing interest in where their food comes from, how it is produced and it’s impact on the environment. The Australian beef industry is leading the way in terms of animal traceability through the supply chain, placing it in a good position, in terms of disease control and increasing trade opportunities.
Although from a completely different sector of the industry Jason Strong, Managing Director and CEO of Australia Agricultural Company had a very similar message. AACo have a story to sell with their beef. Mr Strong made it very clear that although AACo is the oldest continuously operating company in Australia it is very keen to continue moving forward producing a consistently safe quality product that consumers can rely on.
After attending the conference I have a greater enthusiasm for the Angus breed and its future, especially as it continues to take a forward stance in the uptake of new technologies and management techniques. The trade stands were a great opportunity to network, whilst learning about new tools available to producers. While the diverse range of speakers provided informative and stimulating speeches. I am very grateful to the Angus Australia Foundation for the opportunity to attend the conference, as it has been a great learning experience that I would highly recommend.
Top Image: Laura Grubb & Anna White