A group of young pastoralists from the Northern Territory has just spent time exploring the Ord Irrigation Scheme in Western Australia.
The tour was organised by the Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association as part of its Future NTCA leadership program, run to mentor and nurture the development of future leaders of the NT pastoral industry.
The program takes in up to eight participants each year, has been running since 2014 and focuses on building the capability and understanding of the purpose and vision of the NTCA and giving the group an introduction to politics, research and development and helping them build important networks and contacts.
In 2018, the program expanded further to include a Territory Rural Learning Leadership Tour to Kununurra.
The tour was open to both current applicants and alumni of the Future NTCA Program, along with Real Jobs Program participants and NTCA members.
The tour took the group to the Ord Irrigation Scheme to see the current and future planned development on pastoral land such as Kimberley Agriculture Investment’s cotton and Seafarm’s proposed prawn farm.
Over the four days in Kununurra, the group not only explored various industries and proposed developments but were also given a sound understanding of the tenacity needed to start their own business and possible local and state barriers to growth and expansion.
A lesson in value adding and diversification was given by at the Dessert Seed Co and the Hoochery Distillery, with the tasting of fresh sugar cane and learning the process for distilling rum.
Whilst the argyle pink diamonds brought tears to many eyes (some due to the price and some due to the beauty) a hidden gem of the tour came in the form of a presentation by Russell Cooke of Red Range Stock Supplements who provided the group with motivation and support in the areas of entrepreneurship and people management.
“Rusty” led the group in an inspiring discussion on the challenges of starting your own business, mistakes he had made along the way and the triumphs of succeeding due to your own hard work.
Along with the farm and business-based tours, Bentleys Accounting and Rabobank provided food for thought with presentations on financial literacy and a comprehensive northern livestock market update.
Mary Vaughan attended the tour as a part of the 2018 Future NTCA Program.
As Commercial Operations Manager of Brunette Downs Station, she was curious to see how visiting agricultural operations could develop her knowledge of the beef industry.
“The possibilities of benefit to the pastoral industry were obvious at every operation or business we visited. Each has the potential to assist in the development of the pastoral industry or add value to it in some way,” she said.
Hugh Dawson of Beetaloo Station on the Barkly Tablelands said: “I found the tour to be a wonderful experience and a great opportunity to bounce some ideas around a group of people all passionate about the trajectory of the pastoral industry.”
Roley James of Hidden Valley Station, approximately 350km south of Katherine, said: “It was really worthwhile to travel over here and see different types of country, the infrastructure of Wyndham Port and the opportunities which are possible by working with the producers and businesses of the Ord Valley.”
The tour would not have been possible without the support of Kununurra and the agricultural industry in the Ord Valley and the proud tour sponsors, Territory Rural and Kununurra Rural Traders.
Applications will open shortly for the 2019 Future NTCA Program and more details on the program are available by visiting www.ntca.org.au .