The 2023 Angus Foundation NH Foods Cadetship recipient Chloe Plowman recently completed her cadetship experience, where she spent four weeks working across the various facets that make up the diverse NH Foods Australia business.
In addition to her time spent with NH Foods Australia, as part of the cadetship Chloe also completed the five-day Marcus Oldham Rural Leadership Program, which saw her take part in the intensive developmental workshop.
Chloe has provided an overview of her experience of both her time during her cadetship with NH Foods Australia and of the Rural Leadership Program, reporting on the opportunity and what she took from it.
Read her report here:
My NH Foods Cadetship started with a week at Wingham Beef Exports (WBE), Wingham NSW. WBE are heavily involved in the Wingham Beef Week Competition which consists of live cattle judging, carcase judging, the processing of led steers/heifers and hosting youth judging in the abattoir.
Within WBE itself I started with a site tour through the plant starting at the boxed production right through to livestock being delivered. I learnt about halal and& non-halal cattle, the chillers &and carcase tagging terminology and processes performed in regards to maintaining quality and accuracy of the end products.
My time spent in the boning room allowed me to see how a carcase is fully broken down and out of this I was fascinated with the use of technology to determine the fat content in a piece of meat as well as the automations of boxing this product.
Technology within the whole plant is amazing, it also has the ability to track a body through the whole process which QA ran me through as well as what their main roles are and what they are looking for to ensure that quality of the product is the best it can be. I also spent time with an MSA grader who gave me insight and more knowledge on meat colour, fat colour, ossification, marbling, fat measurements and the EMA size.
When I attended Oakey Beef Exports, I experienced different activities which are performed in an abattoir such as workplace health &and safety, livestock, HR, first aid, load out, packing and& again QA in the boning room.
It was amazing to see the Angus cattle which are in the Angus Reserve program coming through the abattoirs to see them live, then to their carcase in the chiller to the boxed product in packing and at the same time the quantity of meat being processed, boned, packed, stored and then loaded into shipping containers or trucks for both domestic and exporting trade on a day-to-day basis. Again, the technology that is used especially the new freezer facility and automatic packing machine which takes away from physical labour is first class.
Next stop was Texas Queensland. to the Whyalla Feedlot which has a current capacity of 55,000 head, however they are currently expanding with work already started. As an Angus breeder, this was amazing to see pens and& pens of black cattle on feed. Within the week I was involved in different areas such as breeding, inductions, vet, feeding and& dispatch which has provided me with an understanding of how the feedlot operates on a day-to-day basis.
My final week was in North Sydney in NH Food Head Quarters where the first day consisted of spreading awareness of R U OK Day and having a cooked lunch by Chef Jason Roberts.
My time spent in the office has tied off the whole process of NH Foods including sales, production, documentation, shipping and& marketing. What was really fascinating to me was the exporting sales to US, China and& Japan and the way of communication and relationship building between the salespeople and their customers.
I was fortunate enough to sit into on an NH Food sales team meeting (which included the abattoirs), Chinese customer meeting and a meeting with a customer from Auckland. Production also expanded my knowledge in how they are communicating back to the plant with innovations/projects for improvements and what calculations they are looking at for each site and how they inter link with one another.
Overall, participation in this cadetship has provided me with a broader knowledge and experience in feedlotting and the red meat industry that I will be able to utilise throughout my future in the beef industry.
It has also made me aware that there are so many more aspects of the business than what a producer would actually be aware of and most importantly as the marketing teams says, “we are not just farmers, we are food producers” and it is all about “the joy of eating”.
I have met so many new people and made so many connections at each site that I hope to stay in touch with for years to come.
In addition to the cadetship, I also attended the Marcus Oldham Leadership Course in VIC, where I met the other Angus Foundation cadets and have formed friendships with them as well as other attendees of the course from all over Australia.
It was a great week where we were taught the fundamentals of what leadership is and then how to put this into practice in life, as everyone can be a leader no matter your job title. The stories and perspectives which the guest speakers spoke about were truly inspiring and gave us so many take away points.
Thank you to the Angus Foundation for providing this opportunity to myself and also to NH Foods and all the employees for welcoming me onboard and giving me insight into the business to learn the day-to-day activities for each site.
In doing so, this experience has expanded my knowledge and& understanding about the beef industry, in specific the role which NH Foods plays from producing, processing, exporting and marketing beef to be the “joy of eating”. I really encourage all young people to take advantage of these types of programs, if it is a scholarship, workshop or cadetship, they are all providing unique opportunities where you not only learn so much but make so many connections with others that you would not have made otherwise.
Feature Image: Nadine Giusti, Brand Manager NH Foods Australia & Chloe Plowman