Young lotfeeder develops skills in team management

Graduate program a pathway to feedlot role

Emily Jones is part of the new round of ALFA's Margin and People Management program.

Emily Jones is part of the new round of ALFA's Margin and People Management program.

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ALFA MPM program participant aims to identify and use her strengths and weaknesses.

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An opportunity to pursue a career in the cattle sector by working at a feedlot was too good to pass up for Emily Jones.

Hailing from Hawkesbury, in New South Wales, she had little exposure to the agricultural industry until learning about it at high school.

Ms Jones went on to get a degree in agribusiness at Charles Sturt University's Wagga campus, before working at one of Australia's biggest cattle stations in the Northern Territory and with GrainCorp during the 2020 bumper east coast grains harvest.

She was offered a graduate program role at Thomas Foods International's (TFI) Iranda Beef Feedlot, at Tintinara, through which she is also participating in ALFA's Margin and People Management (MPM) program.

"I was really excited to kick-start my career with the Iranda team, as the company offers endless opportunities internally and externally to develop invaluable skills and knowledge about progressive Australian beef feedlotting," she said.

"And the MPM program is an added bonus that will fine-tune my skills in team management.

"Specifically, I am confident it will help me learn how to identify and use the strengths and weaknesses of team members.

"I hope the MPM program will provide more opportunities to work with diverse personalities, and identify ways I can contribute to creating an efficient and positive team environment."

ALFA established the esteemed MPM program in 2008 to help up-and-coming feedlot participants develop skills needed to run any successful business.

These include people management and an understanding of business financials.

The MPM program is an added bonus that will fine-tune my skills in team management. Specifically, I am confident it will help me learn how to identify and use the strengths and weaknesses of team members. - ALFA MPM participant Emily Jones.

MPM sessions cover topics including basic financial margin and time management, setting priorities, human behaviour and how to work more effectively with other people - especially in difficult situations.

These are run across several months and involve training sessions and networking events.

Ms Jones said cattle had long been her passion and what excited her most about lot feeding was being involved with grain-fed beef producers to improve the quality of the finished animal.

"This ranges from early identification of health problems and finding solutions to these, to animal nutrition and performance," she said.

"Even more than this, I am very interested in the sustainability of the lot feeding sector and the agricultural industry in general."

Ms Jones said research and development was integral to progressing the beef industry and she was proud to be part of theat.

"I feel privileged to see how industry bodies take-up and apply the technologies and solutions developed through R&D," she said.

"This is especially when it comes to sustainability issues, which are becoming even more crucial for the future of agriculture and to meet consumer expectations."

Thomas Food International's graduate program member Emily Jones has a passion for cattle and horses - she is also scared of bananas.

Thomas Food International's graduate program member Emily Jones has a passion for cattle and horses - she is also scared of bananas.

Ms Jones said she found her TFI feedlot role highly enjoyable and she was lucky to work with industry leaders and people who were passionate about the industry.

"I am gaining so much knowledge and have the chance to learn through internal and external training," she said.

"The lotfeeding sector is an industry leader in this regard.

"I'm learning every day about all areas of feeding and finishing cattle, from machinery operation to team management."

When not working, Ms Jones loves to get on a horse or travel.

She has previously toured through Europe representing Australia in equestrian vaulting, which is like gymnastics on horses.

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