Inspiring the next generation

October 17, 2017 11:34 am

Angus Australia were invited to send six individuals to attend the inaugural Australian Registered Cattle Breeders (ARCBA), Young Breed Leaders Workshop held in Brisbane early July.

Ashleigh Horne, Angus Australia’s’ BREEDPLAN Project Officer, Murk and Kate Schoen, commercial cattle producers from Corowa, NSW, James Knight, commercial cattle producer and Angus Youth Consultative Committee member, Mortlake, Victoria, Laura Grubb, Teys Livestock Strategic Operations and Angus Youth Consultative Committee member, Biloela, Queensland and Haylee Herriot, Angus Australia’s Angus Youth Development & Education Officer, were all lucky enough to attend.

This workshop was unique in that it was aimed at the next generation of cattle breeders, aged between 20 and 35, focusing on “The Role of Genetics in a Modern Australian Beef Industry”.

Topics of discussion ranged from breed development, genetic innovation and adoption, youth and board development and succession planning, as well as supply chain collaboration.

The intention of the workshop was to inspire and prepare participants for senior management roles within the beef breeding industry.

The workshop was structured in a way that simulated a boardroom situation where, in small groups, the topics were discussed.

Participants had the opportunity to hear from industry leaders prior to discussion of that particular topic, with this format allowing for robust and insightful conversation.

“This created a great platform for not only (topic) discussion, but enabled participants to learn techniques on addressing an issue, communicating and dealing with different personalities that were encountered,” said Kate Schoen.

Laura Grubb was pleased to note during these discussions that Angus Australia are at the forefront of the industry when it comes to the implementation of genetic innovation, extension programs and governance.

‘The clearly defined governance structure of Angus Australia was a breath of fresh air, when discussing how decisions and directions are made within a breed society,’ she said.

‘Angus Australia’s Youth program was often presented by other societies as an example of how to foster the development of the next generation. The service portfolio of Angus Australia far outweighs others and while there are always improvements that can be made, it was wonderful to see how Angus Australia is leading the way in so many areas,’ said Laura.

A highlight for the group came from, Ben Noller, Santa Gerturdis General Manager at the time presenting on, “How to create generational change in the seedstock industry to create more management opportunities for young breeders,” with participants suggesting that these challenges could be overcome by the implementation of mentor programs, that would pair young people with someone further down the supply chain, to consider succession planning within breed societies and the addition of young board members.

Laura Grubb echoed this sentiment, saying that, “The path moving forward is to invest in the next generation to ensure the future of not only our breed society, but the beef industry as a whole.”

Finding the balance between 30-50 year’s worth of subjective livestock knowledge and new ideologies is key to moving into the future for James Knight, with education of commercial producers on the values of seedstockers investing in such technologies as genomics a solution.

‘For commercial cattlemen to embrace advancing technology, they need to see the benefits of its implementation at the seedstock level,’ he said.

The very apparent take home messages from this workshop were that it was a great networking opportunity provided to participants.

‘Not only were participants able to catch up with those within their breed, but the workshop allowed them to connect with people from other breeds and learn about what opportunities and threats they are experiencing, that otherwise it may have been harder to network with,’ said Haylee Herriot.

Top Image: Murk and Kate Schoen, commercial cattle producers from Corowa, NSW & Laura Grubb, Teys Livestock Strategic Operations and Angus Youth Consultative Committee member. Image courtesy of Fairfax Media

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