AS my tenure as the CEO of Cattle Council comes to an end this week, I am proud of what we've achieved in my two years leading the organisation and I know the future for our producer members is extremely exciting.
I grew up at Warren in NSW and that's a major reason I've found working on behalf of farmers and rural communities a driving passion throughout my career.
I'm pleased that I'll be continuing that relationship with the meat industry and rural Australia in my new role as CEO of Australian Pork Limited.
There are considerable differences in the issues impacting Australian pork producers compared to those on Cattle Council's radar.
But there are also some important similarities - prosecuting the ethical, environmental and economic credentials of livestock production is a challenge which no meat sector can ignore.
Pressure from anti-meat activists, increasing transparency around animal welfare and the emergence of meat imitation products are matters which unite all livestock producers.
Providing opportunities for rural people to develop the professional skills needed to become industry leaders is something I find particularly rewarding and I'm grateful that Cattle Council plays such an active role in upskilling producers from around Australia.
Leadership skills amongst grass-roots producers will be a valuable asset for the future as we tell the compelling stories of clean, green Australian meat and the wonderful people who produce it.
Meeting producers and the people working in our supply chains has left such a positive impression on me.
Going on-farm, visiting a feedlot, abattoir or livestock export vessel, and seeing our products and animals in overseas markets is something very few people get to experience and I've never taken for granted the willingness of people across our supply chains to open their doors and share their story with me.
It's the integrity of the people I've met which makes that face-to-face engagement so powerful - whether they are producers or working throughout our supply chains.
Talking with three young women working in an Indonesian feedlot late last year, women whose employment prospects and quality of life would be significantly compromised without the livestock export industry, was an experience I'll never forget. (See attached photo)
If every government representative, journalist or member of the community had those sorts of first-hand experiences they would understand the imperatives of our industry. Helping Australians understand the industry's importance is why strong advocacy is so critical.
I'm proud that Cattle Council is leading the discussion about the modern representational structure best suits the changing times and advocacy needs, both in terms of producer representation and the way the whole red meat supply chain can unite to speak with one powerful voice.
I'm also proud that we've continued to effectively argue the case for producers in terms of high producer priorities like market access and biosecurity.
At a time when our production has been hit hard by drought and floods, Cattle Council's position as such a strong advocacy organisation representing all of Australia's beef cattle producers has been invaluable.
It has been a great privilege to work on behalf of Australian beef producers and I would like to thank our members, the Cattle Council Board including current President Tony Hegarty and past President Howard Smith, and Cattle Council's staff for their support and passion over the past two years.
I look forward to watching the progress of the beef cattle industry and its success for many years to come.