THIS year’s seven best “rising champions” of the Australian beef industry have been announced, vying for a title in which there can only be one winner.
Cattle Council of Australia and NAB Agribusiness present the initiative, aimed at inspiring, empowering and supporting young people who are passionate about the Australian beef industry.
Now in its seventh year, the rising champion event targets those aged 21 to 35.
CCA acting chief executive officer Margo Andrae said the program was about helping the next generation of beef industry leaders to step up.
“It is vitally important that the cattle producers and industry leaders of tomorrow have the opportunity to provide input into the direction of their industry today,” Ms Andrae said.
NAB Agribusiness general manager Khan Horne said the bank was proud of its long term support of rising champions.
State finalists will attend a three-day program in Canberra next week, networking with government agriculture staff, learning effective communication techniques, developing their leadership skills and participating in CCA committee meetings.
The 2017 winner will be announced at a gala dinner on November 20 in Alice Springs, in conjunction with Red Meat 2017 and Meat and Livestock Australia’s annual general meeting.
Meet the finalists
Kylie Stretton, Queensland: Kylie is the owner and manager of Charters Towers agency Northern Livestock Services, as well as “Clancella Downs”, where she produces beef and free range eggs and operates tourism and education programs. Along with running her own business and building up her growing herd of cattle on agistment, Kylie is the co-founder of Ask an Aussie Farmer Facebook community.
Shaun Byrnes, Western Australia: Shaun is a technical officer overseeing beef and poultry at the Western Australian College of Agriculture at Cunderdin. Shaun is also an artificial insemination technician at his company Byrnes Cattle Co. He has worked in the beef industry since 2003, beginning with mustering and processing cattle in the Pilbara and holding various positions in saleyards, abattoirs and feedlots.
Aaron Brown, Victoria: Aaron has managed the family’s cattle and prime lamb enterprise in South Gippsland, Victoria since the age of 26. He has been involved with the Southern Australia Meat Research Council since 2015, developing new policies and priorities, providing feedback on research and development outcomes, and making recommendations regarding investment.
Darcy Nicklason, Tasmania: Darcy is a junior partner in his family’s beef and prime lamb enterprise at Pyengana. He works in all aspects of breeding, finishing and processing, as well as liaising with butchers to market the premium grassfed beef. Darcy started his career as a jackaroo on a large beef, sheep and broadacre cropping enterprise.
Tom Heggaton, New South Wales: Tom is the general manager of pastoral operations for Argyle Food Pastoral, a beef and lamb company at Galong. Tom sources, fattens and provides cattle to meet forward demand from the domestic and international sales arm of the business. He spent two years jackarooing and worked as a grain trader supplying feedlots as well as other end users across Eastern Australia and international container markets.
James Beale, Northern Territory: James manages Bunda/Kirkimbie Station for Consolidated Pastoral Company near Katherine. He is involved in all aspects of the commercial and stud herd and horse stud management.
James Pitchford, South Australia: From Keith, James has been involved in the cattle industry for most of his life. He is a farm hand at Hyfield Pastoral and recently established Pitchford Pastoral in partnership with his father. In 2008 he established a small Shorthorn stud.
Fairfax Agricultural Media is the event’s exclusive media partner.