YOUNG beef marketer Kirsty McCormack has just handed over the reins of the prestigious Rising Champion role to fellow Queenslander Kylie Stretton.
She described the past year as a roller coaster.
“Not only have I been exposed to international experiences but I have learned what it takes to create and change policy,” she said.
“I’ve been able to gain a deep insight into how our national and global marketing strategies are formed and rolled out.”
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.
McDonalds is a silver sponsor and Fairfax Agricultural Media is the event’s exclusive media partner.
A marketing and production executive with the Angus family’s Queensland branded beef business Signature, which exports to 33 countries under six labels, Ms McCormack says she was lucky her employer sees value in industry development.
Indeed, building capability and investment in future leaders’ skills and knowledge was one of the keys to ensuring Australian beef remains globally competitive, according to Meat and Livestock Australia chair Dr Michele Allan.
In delivering the key address at the 2017 Rising Champions gala dinner in Alice Springs late last month, Dr Allan said the volatile nature of international beef markets meant protection and promotion of Australian product was more important than ever.
“The development of strong capable leaders, with a whole-of-chain perspective, will play a huge role in effective policy making in the future,” she said.
Her advice to the next generation of beef leaders: adopt a growth mindset.
“This comes with the belief that your intelligence, talents and skills can be developed and enhanced through hard work, solid strategies and input from others,” Dr Allan explained.
“This mindset leads to lifelong learning, embracing challenges, persisting in the face of setbacks, finding inspiration in the success of others and improving from criticism.”
A growth mindset saw opportunities rather than obstacles, she said.
“Take for instance the challenges facing the beef industry - climate, the exchange rate, drought and floods, market access, food security, input costs, competition and consumer expectations,” she said.
“As leaders, we need to be on the front foot, tackle these things and turn them into opportunities.”
NAB’s head of agribusiness development and Asia desk Garry Gale agreed.
His organisation had a lot of faith in the future of the cattle industry, he said.
He commended beef producers on the responsible approach they had taken in regards to increased returns from high cattle prices.
Farm management deposits in beef had gone from $398m in 2014 to to $834m at the end of September this year, he said.
The breakdown: In Queensland and the Northern Territory a jump from $204m to $415m; in NSW $80m to 188m; Victoria $62 to $120m; WA $19 to $48m and Tasmania $10 to $18m.
“Those are fantastic numbers and good evidence that money is being put away for harder times,” he said.