Back in 1983 new Angus Society of Australia chief executive officer, Enid Fisher, cheekily suggested in a report to her bosses that results in the show ring weren’t the be-all and end-all of improving the breed.
The show ring was also the exclusive domain of stud breeders which helped insulate them from commercial breeders.
Ms Fisher said connecting with commercial cattle producers would “get the Angus breed going”.
To help achieve that she wanted to appoint a breed development officer and she already had somebody in mind – Don Nicol who had played a key role in the development and launch of Breedplan.
Now 93 and living in Nambucca Heads on the NSW North Coast, Ms Fisher said she was expecting serious pushback from older stud breeders who “only thought about the showground”.
But the council voted to accept her plan and Mr Nicol went on to play a major role in the growth of the breed.
Ms Fisher said her plan didn’t make her popular and remembers walking onto Brisbane showground and being verbally attacked by angry stud breeders.
One of Mr Nicol’s key objectives was to improve the performance of Angus cattle to make commercial producers more profitable.
Ms Fisher said a major reason for the success of the Angus breed in modern times has been the unity between seedstock and commercial breeders.
“It’s a very united breed now, that’s why it has been so successful, stud breeders need the commercial breeder, that’s why they are in business.”
Read the full Summer Angus publication here.
Enid Fisher started working for the Angus Society in 1972 as registrar and soon afterwards Doug Service resigned as secretary and the headquarters were moved from Sydney’s Pitt Street to the old Sydney Showground.
Rupert Simpson replaced Mr Service and Ms Fisher said he achieved major success despite tight finances, including playing a key role in launching the breed’s first National Show and Sale in Wodonga.
The event was also a publicity bonanza for the breed through initiatives such as inviting overseas judges and dignitaries to open the event, including the NSW Premier, Neville Wran, and the Governor-General, Sir Zelman Cowen. High-profile people attracted the media who would have otherwise stayed away from the event.
Ms Fisher, who was born in Grafton and comes from pioneering farming stock on the NSW North Coast, worked in advertising before spending 23 years with the Angus Society.
Her father was a bank manager and she attended a number of schools including Casino High.
She left the society in 1994 in a sound financial position.