Angus Foundation Beef Australia 2021 Scholarship Reports

The Angus Foundation recently provided three young members of the beef industry the opportunity to attend Beef Australia 2021, which took place in Rockhampton May 3 – 8.

Angus Australia members Georgia Laurie, Damien Thomson and Jock McGregor were each selected for the Angus Australia Beef Australia scholarships, which saw them take on and take in the multitude of seminars, trade stands and beef cattle on display during the event

As part of their scholarships each recipient put together a report wrapping up their time at Beef 2021.  Read them below:

Damien Thomson

Tell me about your Beef 21 experience?

Beef Australia is an event like no other. There is something for everyone and even after a full week, there was more I wish I could have done. The Rabobank Awards dinner on Monday night set the scene for the rest of the week. It highlighted the changes the beef industry has undergone and how the industry has innovated to generate value along the supply chain. Ultimately producing a high-quality eating experience for consumers.

I split my time between listening to seminars, tech talks and product launches, watching the cattle showing, walking around and visiting each stand, chatting with industry contacts and having a good time catching up with mates each night. It was wonderful to reconnect with so many people after a year of very little contact.

There were new technologies that I had been watching and waiting to see be commercialised. It was exciting to be able to see them right there and speak to the people behind their development, about their stories and what they hope to achieve. I felt incredibly optimistic and enthusiastic about the future of the beef industry and can’t wait to see it all come together. It’s a full-on week but I loved every second and would do it all again.

What were your take home messages from the week and things you will look to implement into your own farm or life?

The biggest take home for me is the confidence and positivity in the beef industry at the moment. Record high prices certainly go a long way to contributing to that, but it really comes down the community and collective effort of so many people doing great things. The most exciting innovations and technologies for me were FutureFeed, Optiweigh and Ceres tag. I think the pursuit of carbon neutrality is going to be critically important in the near future and the beef industry has the opportunity to lead the way. Optiweigh will be a significant tool for improving efficiency in cattle feeding and pasture management. We will be considering how an Optiweigh unit could bring value to our breeding operation at Shacorrah-dalu Angus. Ceres tag is something I have been watching for years and I am so thrilled to see them launch at Beef Australia 2021. We will be looking into how these smart tags can be used on bulls to provide real-time information about working ability and injury or illness.

Why would you recommend young people to apply for this scholarship?

There are so many opportunities for young people in the beef industry. Attending an event like Beef Australia exposes you to those opportunities and connects you with industry leaders. It has something for everyone, there is so much to see and learn and you can have a lot of fun while you’re at it. I have gained a number of contacts, a head full of ideas and built on some existing connections and collaborations. I would not have made it all the way from Yass to Rockhampton without this scholarship. Theses scholarships are the best way to make that first step, helping you get involved, start meeting people and learning and developing your own skills and knowledge.

Georgie Laurie

2021 Beef Week met and exceeded all my previous assumptions, proving to be a fantastic event where great people, cattle and innovation featured.

I thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of the week and I’m very grateful for the experience. The cattle judging was an amazing spectacle to watch, I especially enjoyed the judging of the larger Bos Indicus breeds.

It was great to attend seminars from industry leaders, including Angus Australia and the Meat and Livestock Australia: Linking Innovation with reproductive performance seminars.

The Angus Australia seminar highlighted the increasing influence of Angus cattle in the north, as they are being utilised to increase versatility of northern herds.

The Rabobank Industry Awards dinner was a great experience, where fellow scholarship recipients and myself were able socialise and network with other industry enthusiasts.

On Friday night, we supported the Beef Barbarians as they played the Classic Wallabies, and despite the Barbarians gracious defeat, it was a great game to watch!

Beef provided a great opportunity to network and to catch up with new and old friends.

The Tech Yards at Beef featured a range of new and innovative technology, aimed to aid producers throughout all stages of production. This is where I learnt the most and took away ideas to implement into our own operation.

Optiweight was a technology that stood out to me, due to is complete mobility and its simplicity. Optiweigh provides producers with acute individual and mob weights, where data is compiled into easily accessed and simplistic reports.  I believe this will aid producers to make timely and effective management decisions to ensure that setbacks are avoided.

The vitality of accountability was a take home message, whereby software programs such as AgriWebb pose as a simplistic and effective management recording tool.

AgriWebb is continually developing, now including individual animal management making it suitable for intensive and stud operations. This is a program I wish to implement at home, to increase traceability and accountability.

I strongly recommend young people apply for this scholarship as it provided me with an opportunity that I am extremely grateful for. The scholarship provides a base platform for developing relationships with people involved with the Angus breed along with other industry leaders.

I left Beef 2021 feeling excited and enthused about my future in the Australian agriculture industry.  The passion of the people at the event was contagious, reiterating the strength of both the beef industry today and its future.

Jock McGregor

Tell me about your BEEF 21 experience?

Beef 21 was a truly memorable experience. Coming from a very small scaled Angus farming operation, I was in awe of what the beef industry as a whole had pulled together for the week. The crowd at Beef 21 was very diverse; with beef producers, industry experts and general tourists all there to experience the highly anticipated week.

Upon arrival I couldn’t comprehend the magnitude of people, marquees and hats that were present at Beef. The raw scale of the event was much to my surprise which excited me to get into the week and explore all of the opportunities that were on show. I used the first day to soak it all in with an intent to note down the tents, talks and people that I would like to investigate further and get to know more about later in the week.

The highlight of the first day was attending the Rabobank Industry Awards Dinner that was included in the Angus Beef Scholarship. The night allowed me to network with the other scholarship receivers and the Angus Australia Staff over dinner whilst listening to Scott Morrison and his thoughts on the beef industry.

What were your take home messages from the week and things you will look to implement into your own farm or life?

The key takeaway for me from the week was the technology focus throughout the beef supply chain and in a broader sense the hope and prosperity of the beef community.

I believe the technology focus has stemmed from the ability to increase efficiency in operations, ultimately leading to enhanced profitability. The highlight for me within the technology space was the Truck Tracker app and I will definitely look to implement this into my own farming enterprise.

The Truck Tracker aims to improve transparency, communication and efficiency for the livestock industry through allowing buyers and sellers of livestock to follow their trucks live from paddocks to destination.

Further, I noticed that there was a real sense of community at Beef as everyone was there with common interests and to support the Beef industry. With the current Beef climate proving to be very successful, many stakeholders of the Beef industry are excited for the future.

Why would you recommend young people to apply for this scholarship?

I would recommend young people to apply for the scholarship as it allows you to get out of your comfort zone and explore the beef industry on another level.

The endless opportunities through networking, learning and development and just experiencing the beef industry as a whole in one place was an atmosphere that I will never forget.

Angus Australia has put a real emphasis on training and developing young and upcoming people within the beef industry which fosters a great culture and experience. The scholarship provided a very good opportunity to learn through involvement in cattle showing and seminars which allowed me to increase my knowledge of the beef industry.

Feature image: Left: Jock, Georgia and Damien