THE Cattle Council of Australia (CCA) has announced the state finalists for the 2017 NAB Agribusiness Rising Beef Industry Champion, and South Gippsland Shire councillor Aaron Brown of Wattle Bank is flying the flag for Victoria.
He’s the second South Gippslander in two years to go forward and represent the state after Robert Ewing, Farm Manager of Yancowinna Angus at Inverloch was a finalist last year.
Now in its seventh year, the Rising Champion Initiative aims to inspire, empower and support 21-35 year olds who are passionate about the Australian beef industry.
Cr Brown has managed the family’s commercial Angus and prime lamb enterprise in South Gippsland since the age of 26.
He has been involved with the Southern Australia Meat Research Council since 2015, developing new policies and priorities, providing feedback on R&D outcomes, and making recommendations regarding investment.
Speaking about the event this week, Aaron Brown said he was delighted to have been selected to represent Victoria and viewed it as another chance to gain knowledge about the industry.
“They asked you to send in an application and do a phone interview. From here, all state and territory representatives go to an event at Alice Springs where you have to do a presentation.
“I think they were interested in my involvement in the Southern Australia Meat Research Council for Gippsland and Tasmania, chaired by Jenny O’Sullivan and also the opportunity I had in 2013, sponsored by the VFF and Rabo Bank to do three to four months on cattle stations in Queensland.
“They’re interested in encouraging young people in the industry to look at taking roles in the future and providing them with the skills and ideas they might need. It’s also a good opportunity for me personally to hear what others are doing.”
In May this year, Aaron also completed a company directors’ course provided by the Cattle Council.
“It’s a good sign I think that two people from this area have come through in the past couple of years, an indication that we’re forward looking and wanting to improve as an industry.”

Stepping up
CCA Acting CEO Margo Andrae said that the Rising Champions program is about helping the next generation of beef industry leaders to step up.
“It is vitally important that the cattle producers and industry leaders of tomorrow have the opportunity to provide input into the direction of their industry today,” Ms Andrae said.
“We are very pleased to be giving young people who are passionate about the Australian beef industry exposure to current industry leaders and the chance to develop leadership skills to take them to the next level.”
NAB Agribusiness general manager Khan Horne said that the bank is proud of its long term support of the Rising Champions.
“NAB Agribusiness throws its support behind this Initiative because we strongly believe in the importance of providing opportunities for the leaders of tomorrow,” Mr Horne said.
“I congratulate the finalists for 2017. It gives me great confidence in the future of the beef industry with the calibre of young people that the Rising Champions continues to attract.”
State finalists will attend a three-day program in Canberra on September 11 and 12, networking with staff from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, learning effective communication techniques, developing their leadership skills, and participating in CCA committee meetings.
The 2017 winner will be announced at a gala dinner on November 20 in Alice Springs, in conjunction with Red Meat 2017 and the Meat & Livestock Australia AGM.