The 2023 GenAngus Future Leaders Program (GenAngus) is the flagship program of the industry alliance between Angus Australia and Achmea Australia and brings together the next generation of agricultural leaders to gain business skills and knowledge to help them start their own beef cattle business or further advance their existing business.
While in Adelaide each of the twelve participants chosen to attend GenAngus left with a renewed sense of purpose and the belief that they could succeed, and have gone home with both the soft and practical skills they need to drive both their personal and business goals.
Corey McKinnon, Timor, NSW is the manager of Timor Creek, a commercial Angus breeding program that was developed with his wife, Monique in the Upper Hunter region of NSW in 2021.
Corey applied for GenAngus to better himself and extend his knowledge into the business and make better decisions.
When asked to explain some of his favourite parts of GenAngus Corey highlighted that getting stuck in straight away made for a lot of fun.
‘The tree climbing on the ropes was an awesome icebreaker and a good chance to get to know everyone as we were waiting on the activities you could bond a bit and after that we went to an escape room, which was even better as you started to work together as a team and building trust in relationships which I think was was an awesome start to the program.’
Corey also took a lot away from the speakers at the official dinner.
‘I learned that you need to accept failure a little bit easier and use them as a lesson and just to move on and and keep striving towards those achievements and goals,’ he said.
‘And listening to the past participants was extremely helpful as they sort of brought it back a bit and reminded us that we will hear all these awesome speakers but it would be hard to take everything in and their advice was to don’t try and take it all in at once, but take some key massages and let it roll on from there. Take a few things that you think is going to work for you and improve on yourself in that way.’
For Corey he valued this advice and appreciated hearing all of this in the lead into the mindset session with Pete Clarke.
‘It was about changing the outlook and not seeing things as a failure or a bad experience just look at the positives and towards the better outcome and sort of adapting a bit more and changing how you view tasks and problems and just really making it easy for yourself instead of harder.’
Corey’s main takeaways from GenAngus were the networking and learning how other people do certain things in their businesses, with a focus on taking home a handful of key features and that he could apply to his own program.
Lori Fogarty grew up on a cattle station in the Northern Territory but now resides near Cooranga, QLD.
When asked why she applied for GenAngus, Lori noted that, ‘I’m currently studying to be a teacher and coming from the family business and getting into teaching I think the leadership program is really important for both of those so that I can be a leader for my students and a leader for our family business. Anything that I can take from GenAngus and give back into both of those I think will be really beneficial.’
When it came to what she got from the speakers, Lori really resonated with Jason Strong. ‘I asked him when he sat down what would he recommend to his younger self and he mentioned it quite a bit in his speech about being patient. I know I really need to work on that and not try to take on too much at once and just settling down and doing what I can and just looking forward to the future and knowing there’s plenty of time to achieve goals.’
Like many participants, Pete Clark’s mindset was a session Lori really enjoyed.
‘It was a good thing to start off with for the program because all of us come from different backgrounds and have different mindsets and this really allowed us to go into the program with a more open mind and ability to learn how to gain different perspectives which is really beneficial to everyone here,’ said Lori.
‘And because I am from a cattle station and we also run cattle on another farm in Queensland, I really took a lot from Simon Quilty talking about the expected forecasts and prices which is really important for our business, so I really want to take that information back to recommend things to do moving forward on the cattle station for when we, sell what we sell and where we sell it.’
Tom Taheny is currently managing a Santa Gertrudis and Angus cattle property near Lucindale, SA.
Tom appreciated that the sessions were designed, ‘To really challenge us to become better leaders, managers and business owners within the livestock industry.’
Tom applied for GenAngus to improve his knowledge, network with like-minded people and hopefully develop the skills to become a better leader and a better person.
When asked what his biggest takeaway was, for Tom it was all about the people he met during the course and what he could learn from them.
‘There have been some great questions asked by everyone and a lot of us are on a very similar path in our career, even if we are working in different areas.’
When asked why he would encourage others to apply, it also came down to the connections for Tom.
‘You get put with some amazing people in the industry that are potential mentors and have got so much to give back.’
In summarising his experience Tom said that, ‘You’ve got to push yourself to use the resources that are given to you to make the best of it.’
Hannah Powe and her family own and operate Goondoola Livestock at Cargo in the Central West of NSW. Hannah is also a Genomics Territory Manager with Neogen Australasia.
Hannah had been following the GenAngus program for a few years and the time had finally come for her to apply.
‘I was finally at that point in my life where I wanted to take my skills to the next level and really challenge myself in terms of mindset, in terms of building our family business and how we achieve those one percenters and how I can work with people a bit more efficiently as well as look at where my family can go moving forward.’
Hannah was prompted to apply after having been involved with the Angus Youth program for over ten years.
‘I’m lucky enough to have been involved and welcomed into the Angus program and it also has a lot to do with the investment Angus puts into their future leaders and the next generation and how they can upskill us and really give us opportunities and experiences moving forward.’
‘Further to that I love the network and I love the Angus family, they really welcome you in and having that opportunity to work with a lot of Angus producers in a mentor capacity has been something I’m always so thankful for,’ said Hannah.
Having access to high calibre speakers was also a big drawcard for Hannah.
‘That access to the speakers that we’ve had at GenAngus, a lot of them we probably wouldn’t have met or had the opportunity to really get down into the nitty-gritty with previously and really drill into some key take homes messages from.’
And in terms of Hannah’s take homes, ‘The central theme around understanding your own mindset and how having that shift to more of an optimistic mindset can help you apply knowledge, how to understand yourself and how understanding yourself can make you work more effectively within your own business, within a team and really get the most out of your team members around you. I really like being challenged and understanding how to challenge people and push them further.’
From her experience at GenAngus, Hannah had no qualms in encouraging other to apply for the program.
‘Spending time with the people that you’ve met here and and seeing them evolve and seeing them become vulnerable and you become vulnerable yourself, it’s just stripping you back and taking it down to that level to really understand yourself and then you can go forward in a really strong way. So, if you’re really wanting to learn about yourself as well as your business and understanding how to work with people can help you move forward into the future definitely give GenAngus a go.’
James Blyth, who alongside his family, runs Fernleigh Angus in Ellinbank, Victoria, applied for GenAngus to further expand his business skills.
‘I applied for GenAngus as I thought there were a few areas of deficiency in our business that I really wanted to develop and GenAngus has really assisted in those areas particularly in marketing, succession planning and personal mindset and I think the overall program’s been really valuable.’
For James when he returns home, mindset will be one of the areas he looks to work on implement change straight away.
‘I need to be more aware and deliberate in my mindset and making conscious decisions in everything that I do. I think it’s quite easy as farmers to just to go through the motions without really checking in on ourselves and where we’re at so the mindset training has been really interesting and valuable.’
Like others, James would encourage other young people in the beef industry to apply for GenAngus in the future because of the people.
‘It’s the camaraderie and the friendships that we’ve made. All of the training and the education has been fantastic but I think here we’ve made some friends for life and that’s a really big part of it for me.’
Phil Bayly lives on his family sheep and beef farm on the coast in Waitangi, New Zealand, where he works alongside his parents on their Angus stud, Waitangi Angus.
Phil applied for GenAngus to gain new friendships, learn more about himself and to make improvements for himself and his business.
The take home messages that resonated for Phil included soft and practical skills he can take home and work on.
‘Firstly, the motivation speech on the first day about setting goals and understanding how to set achievable goals and not not getting too overwhelmed by it and then the other thing I’ve really taken on is the social media side of things. I understand it’s such an important part of every business these days and learning how to use it to our advantage has been awesome’.
Phil summed up his time at GenAngus as ‘A great learning experience.’
‘You meet people that are in the industry with you in a similar age group and you can learn so much from just sitting and talking to the guy or girl next to you, this has been the real learning experience.’
Natalia Harris grew up in Lucindale, SA on her family’s beef and sheep property, where her love of animals led her to a career in Veterinary Science.
Natalia’s application to GenAngus came through encouragement by a family friend that sent her the application and thought she would really benefit from the program.
‘Having a look at the content for the initial three days I just really thought I’d be able to sink my teeth into everything on there, the business skills, the marketing, the social media and I really really enjoyed seeing what the content was going to be and looked forward to meeting like-minded people and mentors that hopefully I will have long-term relationships with.’
Natalia’s expectations were more than exceeded.
‘We’ve been going through a three-day intensive program learning anything from social media and marketing to insurance and risk mitigation and industry forecasting.’
‘Over the last few days, the main standouts for me were definitely the the mindset session where I’ve really taken away the the point of just achieving small little goals consistently and I also took a lot out of the industry forecasting as well.’
‘The marketing session was amazing, that’s something that as a vet I haven’t done a lot of and it’s provided me with a basic approach that I can start with at home from a blank canvas,’ said Natalia.
For Natalia, the most important thing about GenAngus was meeting all the like-minded people from the land.
‘These are people who are wanting to improve the production and profitability of their businesses and just getting to know what other people do and whether you can apply this back in your business and just having those those relationships for later when when you’re not sure if what you’re trying to achieve is right and you can ask other people.’
Peter McNamara, the Gilmandyke Angus stud manager, located at Orange in NSW applied for GenAngus to further his skillset.
‘I applied for GenAngus because I thought there was still opportunity for me to learn and connect with individuals within the industry and GenAngus is a dedicated program for younger professionals to be able to achieve that.’
And while Pete was aware that each GenAngus session had larger agenda items that apply to business management, he tried to focus more individually on the one percenters that were highlighted in each session.
‘I looked at how each of these can affect you mentally, as well as affect your business management and your drive for success.’
When asked to drill down on his favourite session, Pete got a lot out of Simon Quilty’s session on beef forecasting.
‘I’m fascinated in all of the data and projections; he has been around a fair while and seen a lot happen in the industry across the world.’
Peter recommends that other young professionals should attend GenAngus because, ‘It’s really beneficial to growing and developing yourself as a young leader.’
Zeke Bennet is newly involved in Angus Australia and is in the first year of ownership of his own farm near Shady Creek in Gippsland Victoria.
Being new to the farming world, Zeke applied for GenAngus for all of the learning opportunities it supplied.
‘We’ve just been learning so much to be honest across a whole range of different farming and agricultural sectors and I’ve been just taking in as much information as you possibly can.’
Zeke’s key take homes from GenAngus and areas he will work on straight away were around mindset and social media.
‘But to be honest I’ve taken away a bit out of every single segment it’s just made me extremely excited about the next 12 months.’
Zeke would encourage others to apply for GenAngus to fast track their learning.
‘If you’re looking to further your knowledge base or your business and change your mindset about the industry and Angus breeding in general, GenAngus is for you. There’s been so much information that you would never really think about unless you were in this situation where it was all being explained to you and you’re speaking to some of the best people in the industry. I think that if I was to go and learn all that information myself it would probably take me around three years for what we’ve received in about three days.’
Ed Bradley is from Hazeldean Angus at Cooma in NSW and applied for GenAngus to further his leadership skills and meet like-minded people who are committed to the Angus industry and want to go forward with it.
For Ed, his key take home messages revolved around remaining current.
‘You’ve got to keep constant up-to-date information always on your doorstep don’t ever get lazy, get the best advice you can all the time and act on it because the industry changes very quickly and trends and markets change very quickly, and I think having access to some really up to date speakers through this week has opened the importance that you’ve got to stay current.’
Like Pete, Ed’s favourite session was Simon Quilty, ‘He’s a very dynamic guy who’s travelled a lot and understands the meat and livestock and ag commodity industry better than most.’
When it came to summing up his experience at GenAngus, Ed was very grateful.
‘It’s a very generous program, the speakers are really high quality and if you do want to stay at the forefront you’ve got to go with the best and this week has definitely presented the best.’
Victoria Bennet is a beef, sheep and broadacre farmer with her family in southern Western Australia.
Victoria applied Angus because of the ideal that it would drive connections and learning.
‘I saw it as an opportunity of a lifetime literally to be able to be with others in the industry, like-minded people learning from each other, and to know that I would be with new people that I hadn’t met only in my cohort but all the presenters and to push those boundaries, to learn more and to be more effective and efficient in what I’m doing within the industry.’
When asked what she had been doing during her time at GenAngus, Victoria said, ‘I have been doing a lot of soul-searching challenging of myself and my ideas and looking at the opportunities that lay in front of me.’
As she heads home Victoria will be looking to adjust her focus.
‘I think firstly it’s in the way that I go about my life and tasks in taking little steps in front of me. I can see the further picture and where I want to get to, but I need to take that one step at a time and be more consistent in what I’m doing and knowing what that long-term vision is and take the tiny steps to be able to do that and open my mind and challenge my thoughts.’
‘A a big part of myself coming on this journey was in developing my stud and a vision and my breeding objectives and why I want to do a stud and what that means to my clients and and it’s not just about me what I can do for the industry and how can I breed the correct animals to meet this now, but also going into the future.’
Victoria believe that other people should apply for GenAngus to get out of their comfort zone.
‘I would encourage others to apply and really throw themselves out there. It’s very easy to think that we’re on the right path or that we know a lot, but the world’s our oyster and there’s so many amazing people out there who challenge you and teach you and can make you become a better person in yourself and within what you’re trying to achieve in your life.’
Adam Allingham is the acting Member Services Manager at Angus Australia and attended GenAngus for both professional and personal development, but also saw it as an opportunity to really connect with members and learn mor about what they need from Angus Australia when it comes to service.
‘Looking from the outside in with this program has been very beneficial to my development, I am seeing members from a different perspective to how I would normally in my day to day work, and it will help me work with them in to the future.’
Adam also touched on the broad spectrum of presentations during GenAngus
‘Everything we have learnt has been very insightful and will help me grow, but if I had to pick one, it would be mindset and I will be focusing on changing my mindset.’
The insights into the rest of the GenAngus Cohort were a highlight for Adam, ‘Seeing their challenges and their common interests from such a diverse team. Everyone has ultimately got the same goals, but have come from such different backgrounds.’
Diana Wood, Marketing & Communications Manager