We caught up with former Angus Youth member Ben Grubb to see what he is up to now, and how Angus Youth affected his development in the industry.
Make sure you check out the gallery of where are they now images featuring the former Angus Youth members featured in the bulletin series so far!
What is your earliest memory participating in Angus Youth activities?
Our family were not cattle showing people and growing up in Tasmania I wasn’t really exposed to the Angus Youth Roundups as a junior. The travel distance, cost and time away from farm for my parents were probably main reasons for this. After moving to Victoria in search of employment in 1998 I did however attend Roundups in Wodonga, Hamilton and Armidale from 1998-2001. I remember being really bad at clipping and washing heifers and in awe of the Angus Youth members competing in the judging competition and always listened to the comments/reasons they placed heifers comparing to my own assessments.
What activity/event stands out to you the most (eg Roundup, leadership clinic, scholarships etc)?
Without a doubt, the event that stands out for me was attending the 1997 World Angus Forum held at the Darling Harbour Convention Centre, Sydney. I was fortunate to win one of two Angus Youth scholarships to attend the two- day forum plus an 11-day post forum tour that travelled through the heart of Angus country in New South Wales and Victoria. Just being part of a conference with some 780 Angus enthusiasts from 16 countries, along with the fine foods and banquets was amazing and quite an experience for a 24-year-old from Tasmania! I was able to catch up with some American Angus Breeders from the US that I had met the year before while working on an Angus Stud outside Ellensburg, in Washington State. It highlighted for me that when you share a common interest of breeding Angus cattle you are part of a family that will make you welcome wherever you may be travelling. The post forum tour provided me the opportunity to see some amazing parts of South-East Australia and visit and gain insight into some of the leading Angus breeders in the country. A highlight of the tour was joining the South African and Scottish tour participants on their bus. I knew when the Scots pulled out the Scotch Whiskey at 9.00am I was in for a big day!
I was also proud to be the organiser of the inaugural event, the Young Beef Breeders Information Day (YBBID), held the day before the Angus Youth Roundup in Armidale, NSW in 1999. The event was attended by some 300 people and designed to attract more 20-30 y/o participants in Angus Youth.
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?
After the opportunity Angus Youth provided me to attend the World Angus Forum I joined the Angus Youth Committee. Part of the reason was wanting to give back to an organisation that gave me an amazing opportunity… but the main reason was I knew that the experience obtained,and the people I crossed paths with would ultimately make me a better person and possibly guide my career choices. Erica Halliday (nee Steel) was Angus Youth Co-ordinator when I joined Angus Youth committee. She was (and still is) a ball of energy with incredible enthusiasm about all things Angus. Erica (Or “Hap” as most people called her) was an incredible support & mentor for me during my year term as Angus Youth Chairman in 1999. I am strongly of the view that my position in Angus Youth greatly assisted me gain a position at Elders, initially based in Albury, which resulted in a successful and enjoyable career of nearly thirteen years, including State Manager- Tasmania.
What were the key learnings you developed as a member of Angus Youth, through the program and then the additional scholarship experiences that you had?
I learned the importance of networking and participating… even if it is outside your comfort zone. I also gained a great deal of self- confidence and public speaking skills during my time with Angus Youth. Ultimately, the experiences harnessed my desire to be involved in the beef industry and continue breeding Angus cattle!
How are you involved in the beef cattle industry now/ where are you now?
I currently manage the family business Strathroy Pastoral, which is a mixed farming operation spread across two properties in Northern Tasmania. The enterprises focus on Superfine Merinos, Primeline Composites, Australian Stock Horses, Irrigated cropping (Potatoes, Poppies, cereals, carrot seed and fodder) and commercial Angus.
Why would you encourage others to become involved in the Angus Youth Program?
Becoming involved in the Angus Youth Program (no matter what age) will provide participants with a wealth of knowledge about breeding and showing Angus cattle, becoming a confident public speaker and forming lifelong friendships. Involvement will also expose you to a number of local and international scholarships which if successful, will open your eyes to the world and provide you with experiences and contacts that will definitely have an influence on your career path.