PENOLA’S Kate Fairlie represented South Australia last month as a state finalist in the 2019 NAB Agribusiness Rising Beef Industry Champion initiative.
A fifth-generation livestock producer, Ms Fairlie is involved in her family’s Angus stud and is a regional manager for Beachport Liquid Minerals.
Ms Fairlie was among seven finalists from across Australia invited to attend a four-day program in Canberra in August, an experience she described as both insightful and invaluable.
“The nomination process was quite rigorous – after a written application was submitted, I was selected for a teleconference interview,” Ms Fairlie explained.
“I was selected to represent South Australia as the state finalist and the week in Canberra was an amazing experience.
“I had heard about the initiative before and a few people had encouraged me to apply over the years and I am really happy I did.”
Ms Fairlie said the Cattle Council Rising Champions program was an opportunity to network with Department of Agriculture and Water Resources staff and meet politicians at Parliament House.
The finalists learnt effective communication techniques, developed their leadership skills and participated in Cattle Council consultative committee meetings.
“It was a huge week and started out with advocacy and public speaking training,” Ms Fairlie said.
“We met with MPs at Parliament House and rotated across four of the Cattle Council committees.
“I have a keen interest in biosecurity and animal welfare as well as marketing and trade, so it was amazing to participate in those committee meetings.
“It was definitely an eye-opener to see what goes on behind the scenes with the council and at parliament.”
While Queensland’s Emily Pullen was announced as the 2019 winner at a gala dinner in Canberra, Ms Fairlie commended the program and encouraged locals to apply.
“I think the biggest takeaway for me was if you do not make it through the selection process the first time, keep applying,” she said.
“This year’s winner had applied five times.
“It was an incredible opportunity to network with like-minded people and learn about the policies and technical side to the Australian beef industry.”
Cattle Council chief executive Margo Andrae said the program was founded to develop the skills of the next generation of beef industry leaders.
“It is critical we provide young people who have a passion for the beef industry with an opportunity to be directly involved in the decision-making that will affect their futures and the future of their industry,” Ms Andrae said.
“Many of last year’s Rising Champions finalists have gone on to be involved in industry organisations and it’s pleasing to see them growing and developing as leaders in the industry.”
NAB Agribusiness customer executive Neil Findlay said the bank was thrilled to support the Rising Champions program, which is now in its ninth year.
“We are firm believers in the importance of providing opportunities for young people in agribusiness,” Mr Findlay said.
“The quality of the candidates this program attracts is high and it is encouraging to see the future of our beef industry is in the hands of such motivated and passionate young people.”