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!
Dougal Purcell dates his earliest memory as a Angus Youth back to 1994. Crediting Angus Youth to assisting giving him a foot into the industry he now works, we checked in with Dougal to see where he is now!
What is your earliest memory participating in Angus Youth activities?
My earliest memory is attending the Holbrook Angus Youth Roundup, which would have been around 1994. My reflection is how passionate and committed a number of Angus families were in making the event happen. It was a great couple of days.
What activity/event stands out to you the most (eg Roundup, leadership clinic, scholarships etc)?
In 2005 I was grateful to be awarded the Michigan State University Scholarship, supporting me to travel throughout the United Kingdom and the United States. I learnt a huge amount about the cattle industry and met some fantastic people, many of whom I have stayed in contact with. The Roundups have always been a huge amount of fun, and the Leadership Clinics really helped us understand the work and governance that is needed behind leading and organising any event.
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?
My involvement in a number of Angus Youth activities and the support of people such as Bob Dent and Emma Weatherly were very influential in securing my first employment after studying – a Beef Extension Officer in Victoria. The leadership experiences from the Youth program, and the skills and insights I gained from Michigan State, have all been very influential in supporting my career which has included a number of differed roles across Agriculture.
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?
There are a lot of insights and learnings from Angus Youth. The first would be the importance of team work, and the positive impact of people working together to achieve a good outcome. The second would be the impotence of supporting initiatives within our communities – without volunteers the Youth program couldn’t happen. Another would be to have fun in whatever you are do – I think this is why so many people retain their involvement in the Youth program for so long.
How are you involved in the beef cattle industry now/where are you now?
I’m currently the state-wide Director of Agriculture Services with Agriculture Victoria, living in Ballarat. It’s a great job, where I am fortunate to work with people across all agricultural industries and some fairly big initiatives and projects. Broadening out to work in the dairy, grains, horticulture and irrigation sectors has been a great learning experience – that said I always enjoy the familiarity and catching up with people I know in the beef cattle industry.
Why would you encourage others to become involved in the Angus Youth Program?
Angus Youth is a great opportunity to build your own personal skills in a range of areas. In addition to learning about the cattle industry and meeting great people, the program provides the opportunity to build team work and leadership skills. With a range of events and activities on offer, the program provides an opportunity you to broaden your horizons and grow as a person.