Australia's new grassfed lobby group now has seven board members at the table.
We reached out to find out more about each of them and what's inspired them to take on what is arguably one of the toughest roles in the beef game.
David Foote, Director Tandarra Partners in Queensland
For 45 years, Mr Foote has held rural property management, executive and senior management positions across all mainland states in areas of beef cattle and sheep breeding, growing and lot feeding, meat retailing, small seed growing, irrigated fodder and the further processing and exporting of primary products such as meat, grain and fodder.
His export experiences, which started in 1989, included a role with Stanbroke Pastoral Company to help develop their live cattle export program. He also managed the integration of Bottle Tree feedlot grain feeding in the production system while developing and launching their now globally recognised Diamantina beef brand.
Mr Foote has been in a leadership role at the Lee family's Australian Country Choice group of companies since 1999 and progressed in that time from general manager properties and livestock to group managing director before stepping back in December 2020 from a full time role to a strategic advisory and board role.
Headquartered in Brisbane and employing over 1,400 staff across 42 operations, ACC operates Australia's largest vertically integrated beef supply chain, encompassing cattle breeding, growing and feedlotting to supply its integrated food processing facility in Brisbane that incorporates beef slaughter, beef boning, value-adding and case ready beef packing.
Mr Foote also represents agricultural and cattle industry interests in his roles as a non-government member of the Australia Indonesia Red Meat and Cattle Partnership, a member of SmartSat CRC, a member of the Australian Meat Industry Council's China and Halal Trade Groups, chair of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland's Rural Industry Sector Standing Committee, deputy chair of Laguna Bay Pastoral investment committee and board member of lnventia Genetic Technologies.
He has a small cattle property in the Queensland Mt Kilcoy district, running Charolais and Charbray breeders.
Mr Foote believes the extensive based cattle industry is in an important transition phase which is required to achieve renewed relevancy and status in advocacy for our industry and sector.
"I am hoping my industry skills and experience in both the paddock and the board room can help achieve this important industry transition," he said.
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Garry Edwards, managing director and CEO of Maureen Pastoral Company in NSW
Mr Edwards was born and raised on a commercial beef cattle property south of Gloucester in NSW and has personal cattle production interests in this region today.
His corporate role is as the managing director and CEO of AAM, a business he says has a significant focus in continuing to expand beyond its cattle production interests in Central West NSW, near Forbes and Bective Station near Tamworth.
Mr Edwards has more than 25 years of experience in large scale livestock production management in Australia. His experience spans across a vast array of areas of the agricultural supply chain and includes managing businesses involved in livestock breeding, growing and finishing, financing of agricultural projects, implementation of precision agriculture practices, investigation and implementation of sustainability and innovation initiatives and developing and operating integrated agricultural businesses.
In 2007, he founded the company that today is AAM, commencing the development, operation and management of a portfolio of agricultural assets valued at $887 million and he remains the major shareholder of AAM.
"My professional career has provided the opportunity for me to understand the challenges and opportunities in both family and corporately operated grassfed production enterprises throughout Australia," he said.
Adam Coffey, owner and director of Coffey Cattle Co in Queensland
Mr Coffey and his wife Jacynta own and operate a 2500 hectare beef cattle enterprise in central Queensland, with their two boys Will and Sam.
Mr Coffey grew up in Tasmania and has lived and worked in most states and territories in Australia, experiencing livestock positions throughout NSW, Queensland, Tasmania and southern WA.
Following this, he spent ten years in the Northern Territory and Kimberley regions
working on, and ultimately managing, extensive beef cattle operations in the live export sector.
Mr Coffey completed an Advanced Diploma in Farm Business Management at Marcus Oldham College in 2005 and became a Nuffield Scholar in 2016, studying intensification and diversification of extensive Australian beef cattle operations. He served as Nuffield Queensland State treasurer for two years.
He has been both a mentee and mentor in the Graham Acton Beef Australia development program and his governance and directorship training included the completion of courses with both AICD and Directors Australia.
Mr Coffey has been keenly involved in industry representation as a former member of Cattle Council of Australia research, development and adoption consultative committee and environment committee, and has recently spent two years as a director on the Cattle Commodity Board with Agforce Queensland.
He has actively promoted the grassfed industry through numerous initiatives and publications with Meat & Livestock Australia, the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework, National Farmers Federation and the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef.
"There has never been a more critical time for the Australian grassfed sector to unite," he said.
"Having been involved with state farming organisations and peak industry councils I have developed a very good understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of past representative bodies.
"Given my experience from north to south, I believe I can offer value to Cattle Australia members nationally, with a broad understanding of temperate to tropical grass-fed production systems.
"Food and fibre production in Australia are arguably our most important industries and I wish to be part of the push to ensure our ongoing success. Australia has a significant role to play in the international beef sector now and into the future."
Mr Coffey said he had a strong interest in how Australian cattle producers can best demonstrate their environmental credentials at a time when there is a global focus on land use, sustainability and emissions.
"We need to be proud of what we have achieved and focus hard on continued improvements in productivity and capacity building within our industry," he said.
"Never before have we required such a strong national voice to ensure we have a respected seat at the table involving future regulatory development."
Bryce Camm, grazier, Camm Agriculture Group, Queensland
Bryce Camm hails from Dalby in Queensland's Darling Downs region where he oversees his family's company Camm Agricultural Group, an integrated beef and cropping enterprise with interests across Queensland.
He has been CEO of the group for the past eight years. Prior to that he was the manager of the group's award-winning Wonga Plains Feedlot for eight years where he oversaw the operation triple in size.
Growing up on Natal Downs Station in north Queensland, Mr Camm undertook a dual degree in business administration and communications at Bond University and is a graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Program as well as the Australian Institute of Company Directors Course.
He is currently the chairman of Beef Australia and the immediate past president of the Australian Lot Feeders Council, as well as a previous director of the Red Meat Advisory Council.
He said he was deeply passionate about effective hands-on representation for Australia's beef producers.
"I have, for my entire lifetime, witnessed the debate on different models to deliver that representation.
"I acknowledge the immense amount of work that has taken place to create Cattle Australia as our new body that will proudly represent the interests of beef producers."
Mr Camm said he understood the challenge ahead for Cattle Australia and was keen to give back to an industry that his family was heavily invested in and deeply passionate about.
Elke Cleverdon, owner and director of Cleverdon Agriculture Grassfed Black Angus in NSW
Ms Cleverdon is an experienced non-executive director in the agribusiness and customer-owned banking sector with a passion for member-centric organisations.
She brings a grower perspective coupled with her genuine drive to elevate the industry through innovation. She was among 12 women selected to the National Farmers Federation Diversity in Ag Leadership 2022 program.
Ms Cleverdon has a broad background in the agricultural industry as a producer and rural financial coach across regional NSW, challenging business models and production systems for growers across a wide range of commodities.
She has been a joint owner and director of a broad acre family cattle farm at Harden since 1993. Cleverdon Ag raises and trades black Angus cattle.
Her current non-executive director roles include with Local Land Services NSW, Murrumbidgee Health and SWS Credit Union.
She is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a Fellow CPA and holds a Master of Business Administration focused in marketing, finance, business strategy and leadership.
Ms Cleverdon says she is keen to be involved in developing a strategic plan for Cattle Australia and believes she has the skills, drive and capability to help deliver value to the grassfed cattle industry into the future.
George King, managing director of The Whitney Pastoral Co and manager of Coombing Park in NSW
A seventh-generation farmer, Mr King is currently managing his family property which has been held since 1880.
He runs the Angus breeding and finishing operation, joining 1500 cows per year, with a low-cost model, turning off steers at feeder weights and direct sales of females.
Mr King has long been on a regenerative agriculture path as it was the only way he could see to
renovate their property 25 years ago without employed equity or working capital, which at the time they didn't have.
He continues with this model as it provides outstanding cost containments, continued production and profitability.
Mr King is married with four children, Harry 24, Emma 22, Dave 15 and Tom 13. He also enjoys flying and has his pilot's license.
Mr King is also a founding director of The Wellness House and a founding director of Onfarm Co.
He has a strong voluntary involvement with his community including as the NSW Rural Fire Services senior deputy captain and chairman of St Paul's Carcoar.
"Approaching 50, I feel it is time to contribute to the industry in an effective way," he said.
"The disengagement, disunity and culture of 'no' is something I would like to tackle. The grassfed cattle industry will need leadership and direction as this current boom cycles back down and price pressures of farmgate returns and input costs comes to bear.
"I hope to be able to work in uniting cattle producers to work towards a shared goal of better
industry and consumer engagement, which will eventually translate into higher farmgate prices and social understanding of beef production."
James Bowie, beef producer, Bowie Beef in Western Australia
Mr Bowie offers a unique range of skills and connections from his experience working within Australia's resources sector, as well as his perspective running a beef operation around Bridgetown in WA.
Engaging closely across government, communities and industries and various representative bodies, he has played a key role providing reputational management advice and building critical alignment. This culminated with a role in helping establish the WA LNG Jobs Taskforce that was championed by the WA premier to improve collaboration across the LNG sector.
Mr Bowie has been rebuilding the family farm where over the past five years, they have been adopting new principles to lift stocking rates, reduce weed burden and improve efficiencies.
Also from his farm office desk, Mr Bowie has recently assisted with the establishment of the Asia Natural Gas and Energy Association which represents energy producers, buyers, suppliers and companies across Asia Pacific. ANGEA has been formed to partner with governments and advise them as they develop energy policies to meet their national needs, achieve global climate goals and encourage investment to support social and economic changes vital for a stable and consistent energy transition.
Hailing from a family that has been farming for many hundreds of years, Mr Bowie is firmly of the belief a farmer's currency is the health of their herds and their land.
He said the Australian cattle industry was at a crossroads and facing significant headwinds.
"It is vital we have a united voice that can become trusted across government and the community and most importantly by farmers and the broader cattle value chain," he said.
"I believe Cattle Australia offers a unique opportunity for our sector to demonstrate that raising beef is sustainable as well as complementary to and a vital part of managing greenhouse gas emissions and maintaining national food security."