The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s Northern Beef Development initiative has been strengthened by the appointment of two new development officers in the Kimberley and Pilbara.
Broome-based Rach Darwin and Karratha-based Leah Sackville have joined Clare Atkins from Kununurra to continue phase two of the long-running program.
The development team, led by Broome-based manager Trevor Price, is working closely with pastoralists to increase the adoption of industry best practice to optimise productivity and profitability in the northern beef industry.
“The first phase of the project undertook a suite of studies that identified the constraints and growth opportunities of the northern cattle industry, summarised in the Joining the Dots report,” Mr Price said.
“We are now moving into phase two, where government and industry work in partnership to pursue strategies that drive market development, as well as supply chain and production growth.”
In addition to being a contact for local pastoralists, the development officers will contribute to an extension and adoption program across a wide range of factors impacting management of a pastoral enterprise.
The team is also working with Meat and Livestock Australia Donor Company, the Northern Territory Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade and the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries to establish Producer Demonstration Sites.
These sites will provide a forum for peer groups to pursue new skills, knowledge and management practices that add value to their commercial livestock production systems.
“The development officers are playing an important role, linking industry with research outcomes, tools, training and networks to enhance efficiencies and drive productivity across land management, livestock production and labour resources,” Mr Price said.
“These young women are well qualified and passionate about their jobs and keen to work alongside industry on how best to optimise the potential of our valuable northern beef industry.”
Ms Darwin will focus on animal welfare and herd management and take the lead on demonstration sites focused on pain relief practices.
“I love working alongside pastoralists, industry, non-government organisations and agribusinesses, building relationships and participating in peer to peer learning where you see the results and outcomes that will benefit a businesses’ bottom line,” she said.
Ms Sackville will lead the nutrition and growth, business management and professional development extension activities for the project, as well as coordinate a demonstration site.
“I’m excited about how Northern Beef is helping our diverse and vast cattle industry to explore avenues to improve production and business efficiencies, alongside others across northern Australia,” she said.
Ms Atkins, who has been with the department for more than three years in various capacities, will take responsibility for grazing land management, technology and innovation and data and records systems.
“I am looking forward to implementing the learnings from the collated data and industry input collected in phase one to take phase two of the program forward,” she said.
“All the small changes to enterprises add up to big changes that can transform production and business outcomes that lead to profitable, holistic rangelands management.”
The team works closely with the Future Beef project, which is a tropical beef collaboration between Meat and Livestock Australia and the primary industry departments of the northern states.
More information about phase two of the Northern Beef Development project can be found here.
Jodie Thomson/Megan Broad, media liaison
+61 (0)8 9368 3937