We caught up with former Angus Youth members Murk and Kate Schoen to see what they are up to now, and how Angus Youth affected their development in the industry.
What is your earliest memory participating in Angus Youth activities?
Kate- My first Roundup was at Glen Innes in 2007, I had been begging my parents to attend for years! I was lucky to be awarded Grand Champion Parader and made some friends that are some of my best mates today!
Murk- My first Roundup was in 2005 in Gunnedah. It was so hot, and it was the first of 14 Roundups in a row that I attended, both competing and on the committee. That’s got to be some sort of record?
What activity/event stands out to you the most?
Kate- I don’t think I could pick, but I don’t think I can go past the fact that at the 2008 Roundup in Bendigo I was awarded a scholarship to attend the NSW Beef Cattle Assessment School and that is where I would meet my wonderful future husband, Murk!
Top of the list would be Roundup. It’s where so many lifelong friendships and contacts are made. Also, right up there would be attending the World Angus Forum in New Zealand in 2013, when we travelled over with some of our best friends to represent our country. We made new friends and contacts from all over the world and it was such a great experience. There have been so many opportunities, I could fill the whole page.
Murk- Can’t go past the World Angus Forum in New Zealand, it was such a great experience.
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?
Kate & Murk – Contacts – it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Over time we have come the realise that the agricultural industry is also a people game, you never know who you will meet or where that conversation might lead. Angus Youth not only provides platforms for meeting people and attending events, but Angus Youth has also developed our confidence to be able to take the next step in so many different ventures. You think you’re just having fun with black cows with your best mates but in reality you are gaining skills and meeting people you will call on your whole life.
What were the key learnings you developed as a member of Angus Youth, through the program?
Kate & Murk – From lectures about structure, making cattle halters, and attending our first interviews for scholarships and prizes at Roundup in the early days.
To attending leadership clinic and sitting on our first Angus Youth committee, to chairing a consultative committee and rubbing shoulders with the Board. Learning to be a leader and to help others and be part of a team. They are just some of the wonderful skills we have learnt through Angus Youth that we use now in our business and will continue to do so into the future.
How are you involved in the beef cattle industry now/where are you now?
Murk & Kate – As producers, we are so lucky to be able to make a living from agriculture. Together we manage Schoen Pastoral, a mixed farming enterprise in Corowa, Southern NSW, which includes a diverse range of enterprises which include dryland and irrigated winter and summer cropping, contracting, prime lamb, commercial cattle, and the jewel in the crown, our AARDEN Angus Stud. The stud was started with very modest numbers but this year we will calve down more than 50 stud cows with future plans for growth.
Why would you encourage others to become involved in the Angus Youth Program?
Kate & Murk – Absolutely get involved! – The opportunities are endless and so varied with something for everyone. Sitting down and thinking of the countless events and places we have travelled thanks to Angus Youth Roundup is just the starting point, a funnel that captures young people at the start of their spark of interest and from there the only way is up, just like it has done for us and so many others. There is no doubt that our involvement in the program has helped shaped who we are and has developed a passion for not only the breed, but the Angus community. The Angus Family is a very special all-inclusive one and we look forward to being part of it for a very long time.