We caught up with Andrew Raff of Raff Angus to see where he is now!
“Having just been to the Roundup at Armidale with my three eldest children, it has reminded me of its importance to be involved because you mix with likeminded cattle enthusiasts.”
As part of the centenary editions of the Angus Bulletins, we have been looking back to at Angus Youth and seeing where they are now!
What is your earliest memory participating in Angus Youth activities?
State heifer shows were my first. My more vivid memories were not of the show ring but more of the wrestling ring where we would attempt to conquer kung fu master Donald Patch (Patchy – a black belt at that). We all failed terribly … even when five of the bravest would attack him at once. The National Heifer Shows at Wodonga were an obvious highlight also. These were incredibly professionally run events.
What activity/event stands out to you the most (eg Roundup, leadership clinic, scholarships etc)?
I was never brave enough to try for scholarships as it meant an interview. I always enjoyed watching the seniors in the Herdsman Event finish breaking their not always tame heifers they were given for the event and admired their clipping, handling washing etc. skills. Being of competitive nature I enjoyed the challenge of parading our heifers in judging classes against the quality animals of Tibbooburra and Merrigrange at that time.
In terms of opportunities that you received for being part of Angus Youth, how did your involvement positively influence your development in the beef cattle industry?
There is no doubt that the Junior Judging classes I entered from such a young age at these Angus Heifer Shows gave me invaluable experience which later allowed for me to be confident. Following these I was fortunate enough to judge the Saler breed at the Brisbane Royal Show when I was just 19 years old.
What were the key learnings you developed as a member of Angus Youth, through the program?
I was an observer and quite shy, so a key learning point was confidence. Fellow participants went on to become good friends within the industry, so these two points are perhaps the most important for me.
How are you involved in the beef cattle industry now/where are you now?
I have continued on with the family Angus seedstock breeding business that was established in 1965. I now live on King Island after re-locating from Queensland in 2015 when my wife, four children and over 500 Raff Angus Females made the journey with me across Bass Strait.
By 2021 we will have 850 Herd Book Recorded Angus females with intentions to sell privately both 100 breeding bulls and females. The remaining 600 full pedigree and performance recorded animals will be 100% grass finished on farm and processed, aiming for a 320 – 380kg carcass weight at 18 – 22 months. All this information will then be analysed to gauge Raff Angus genetics ultimate performance indicator.
Why would you encourage others to become involved in the Angus Youth Program?
Having just been to the Heifer Show (Roundup) at Armidale with my three eldest children (second event for the boys and first time for Georgina) it has reminded me of its importance to be involved because you mix with likeminded cattle enthusiasts, it is an opportunity to learn about everything within the industry and it is a grounding for future friendships to unfold.
Feature Image: Georgina, Henry, Andrew & Charlie Raff