Where are they now? – Melissa Neal

What is your earliest memory participating in Angus Youth activities?

My first Roundup was at Hamilton VIC in 2001, after I became interested in agriculture through the farm at my high school.

What activity/event stands out to you the most (eg Roundup, leadership clinic, scholarships etc)?

  • Roundup, especially being on committee for about 10 years.
  • Angus Youth Ambassador, great opportunities and networks through the leadership clinic.
  • Michigan State University Scholarship, incredible learning opportunity and life experiences.

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 Angus Youth provided a huge boost for my career, especially in the early days where I had valuable learning and practice of new skills in Angus Youth at an earlier stage than I would have experienced in the workforce.

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?

My strong interest in training and development stemmed from my Roundup days of youth leadership, honing shills in organisation, managing people, communication, public speaking, problem solving, budgeting and so much more.

How are you involved in the beef cattle industry now/where are you now?

I’ve had a wonderful career in agriculture. Starting as a Cadet at DPI Victoria (Department of Primary Industries), I spent over 13 years delivering educational activities to producers and supply chains in the southern beef and sheep industries in roles such as Livestock Extension and Red Meat Value Chain Development. I also led state and national development projects to improve productivity, profitability and quality for the red meat industry and consumers.

Since then I’ve worked in a range of organisations across Victoria, NSW and ACT in rural leadership training, quality assurance, supply chain management, agribusiness consulting, agricultural research, development and adoption.

Currently I’m in a dream job as Industry Leadership Manager at Sheep Producers Australia where I help develop future leaders for the sheep industry. I’m inspired to influence and empower rural and regional leaders, through challenging people to grow and develop themselves, their business and their community. Whether beef or sheep, we’re all in it together.
I am still actively involved in a range of Agricultural Shows, in particular I have thoroughly enjoyed a decade of coordinating the Beef Carcase Competition at Royal Melbourne Show.

Why would you encourage others to become involved in the Angus Youth Program?

Angus Youth provides brilliant learning and development opportunities for many young people in agriculture. The skills and networks I’ve developed through Angus Youth have been extremely valuable throughout my career. Many people think volunteering in organisations like Angus Youth is all about giving back. Passing on opportunities for younger people is a big driver for me, but you will be surprised at how much you gain from these experiences too. I can’t recommend involvement in Angus Youth or other voluntary organisations highly enough. Thank you so much to Angus Youth, Angus Australia and so many generous supporters who continue to make these valuable programs possible.

Top Image: Melissa Neal with Noelene King at the 2014 Royal Melbourne Show Interbreed

Melissa Neal , the 2006 winner of the Semex Phoenix Genetics Michigan State University Scholarship, with Jason Schulz, the 2006 University of Illinois Scholarship winner at the 2006 Nat