Herefords Australia was represented by Chloe Stewart, Tim Reid, Sarah Day, Catherine Coghill and Bart Bowen at the Australian Registered Cattle Breeders Association (ARCBA) Young Breed Leaders Workshop in Armidale in October.
The workshop was held over three days and included presentations from numerous industry experts and group work exercises designed to build team work and simulate a board environment.
The workshop was facilitated by Dr Michael Bradford, an accomplished livestock consultant from South Africa.
Dr Bradfield is the Executive Officer of the Livestock Registering Federation in South Africa and has run many similar industry workshops with great success.
Over the three days of the workshop participants were divided into groups of eight to simulate a board environment and discuss four different topics.
Groups were comprised of delegates from a mix of breeds and group members changed for each different topic.
The topics of the workshop addressed the future viability of breed societies, how to encourage greater uptake of digital technologies in registered herds, promoting generational change and more opportunities for young breeders in the registered cattle industry and future opportunities for professional development of young breeders.
Delegates also discussed what role ARCBA can play in stimulating breed societies to commit to management training and generational change for young breeders.
The group work and networking aspects of the workshop was something Bart Bowen found particularly beneficial:
“We were placed in an environment where we were required to work in groups, predominantly with other participants that we hadn’t met previously, with limited available time; to achieve certain goals and develop a consensus of opinion and then make a presentation on this basis.
“This was a very effective method to have us consider group dynamics, think critically and work together with people from varied backgrounds – simulating many board environments,” Mr Bowen said.
Participants visited the UNE Smart Farm and listened to a presentation from Smart Farm staff on how the new and emerging Smart Farm technologies can be incorporated into the beef cattle industry.
While at the Smart Farm delegates also enjoyed a barbeque lunch with prime Hereford Boss branded steak provided by Herefords Australia.
There was a lot of positive feedback from delegates from several breeds as well as presenters on the quality of the Hereford steak.
Continuing the technology theme of the Smart Farm, workshop participants then heard from Catriona Millen of Southern Beef Technology Services (SBTS) on the theory behind modern genomic technologies.
Michael Crowley of MLA also discussed the latest technologies for real-time objective measurement of carcase.
Sarah Day was particularly interested in the emerging technologies in the beef industry:
“With the discussions around technologies that are soon to be implemented or already have been, it makes the coming years for the red meat industry as a whole an exciting space to be involved in,” Ms Day said.
On the second day of the workshop, delegates visited Bald Blair Angus stud in Guyra and were addressed by Sam White of Bald Blair Angus on how the stud uses the latest genetic technologies to assist with cattle selection and marketing.
Catherine Coghill found the session at Bald Blair of great interest regarding selection decisions:
“It was interesting to visit Bald Blair Angus to hear from Sam White hear about the genetic gains in their herd through the utilisation of EBVs for selection,” Ms Coghill said.
Later in the day delegates heard from previous ARCBA Workshop attendee; Charlie Perry of Trent Bridge Wagyu.
Mr Perry is the current Treasurer of the Australian Wagyu Association and manager of Trent Bridge, where they employ the latest breeding technology to gain a competitive advantage in the beef industry.
Delegates were then addressed by Alf Collins Snr regarding his work in improving fertility through selection in tropical breeds of cattle.
Mr Collins is regarded as an iconic figure in the Australian beef cattle industry, having been awarded the Helen Newton-Turner Medal for meritorious contributions to beef genetics in 2017.
Delegates also participated in information sessions on branding and marketing as well as the legal responsibilities of Board Members of Incorporated Associations.
The overarching purpose of the three-day workshop was to give young breed leaders the tools they need to be successful in the registered beef cattle industry and to enable each participant to make a valuable contribution to their breed.
Participants learned more about the role of breed societies and were able to meet fellow passionate young beef producers.
Chloe Stewart was delighted at the opportunity to attend the workshop and said it was a very beneficial experience for all involved.
“Learning more about the breed societies and the roles they play was great, along with the importance of including young people to educate them as we are going to be the future leaders in the industry.
“It was great meeting and networking with like-minded people and I think it is exciting to be part of this important and evolving industry,” Ms Stewart said.
Chloe Stewart, Tim Reid, Sarah Day, Catherine Coghill and Bart Bowen at the ARCBA Young Breed Leaders Workshop.