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ARTICLES >> Livestock Articles

Young Leadership in the Pastoral Zone

Posted by Bestprac on Mar 10 2014

Katie Fisher, AgriHort Communications
Queensland producer Robert Brown knows only too well how important it is to stay proactive, optimistic and information hungry – even when times are tough and a drought seems never ending.

Bob and his wife Amy live on a 12,000 hectare property called “Heather” 10 kilometres  south of Bollon in south west Queensland.
The property is a family business that includes his parents and two brothers who are based at another family enterprise east of St George.

Bob Brown (right) at Breeding Leadership with other QLD participants (Image courtesy of AWI)Currently, due to the drought, Bob is running 6000 merino sheep and 700 cattle, but would normally run around 9000 sheep and 1000 cattle. The main focus at “Heather” is wool production and breeding while all the weather lambs and weaner cattle are sent to the St George property where they are fattened on crops.

Looking ahead, the young producer remains positive by staying in touch with the latest information, such as attending a recent Breeding Leadership Programs – an educational program funded by the Australian Wool Innovation (AWI).

“Getting people together either at a leadership program, the pub or in a meeting and sharing experiences and ideas helps a lot,” Bob emphasised.

“The AWI Breeding Leadership Program was very well run. The contacts I gained out of the program will be one of the most beneficial things to me, because they are from all areas of Australia,” he said.

Breeding Leadership participants at Michell's (Image cortesy of AWI)“Some of their ideas and management skills will give me the opportunity to broaden my own knowledge.”

Bob explained that the course gave him good direction in managing people and their personalities, “… but also a better understanding of my personality”.

“It also gave me good skills to achieve a more sustainable business and I believe this will help me to motivate or lead others through positive thinking.”

Bob added that tours were a very important part of the program. “It gave us a practical view on some successful businesses that had some very good advice and experiences,” he said.

From the program, Bob said his key learning’s were:

  • Motivating people through positive thinking, being successful and involving people in what you are doing.
  • Managing time better and having a good work- life balance.
  • Marketing of products. (In our situation we are price takers. We need to have a product that people want and not what we want, so that may mean changing. If we are price takers we need to focus on cutting costs of production in our business to get ahead.)
  • Having short and long term goals and developing a strategy to get there. (Make sure you have a backup plan.)
  • Identifying my personality and using it to manage people better.


Bob now plans to use the skills he learnt from the program to improve his own business and also to help other sheep and wool producers.

“In this area climate is our biggest risk. The agricultural industry in this region is definitely getting tougher, but there are always contacts and skills I can gain to open my eyes to new opportunities,” he said. 

“As there are a limited number of sheep producers in our area, it means I know most of them. Therefore I have an opportunity to talk to producers so they can gain the knowledge I have learnt from my own experiences, either in management or in the business.”
 

 

Last changed: Mar 11 2014

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