Improved road infrastructure for the beef industry of the future is a passion for NAB Agribusiness Rising Champion Initiative finalist Laura Shepherd. Ms Shepherd, 22, works in the Tasmanian red meat processing sector, and has developed a special interest in logistics and the red meat supply chain.
She said sub-standard roads in rural and remote areas caused delays and additional costs for beef producers.
She also believes efficient access to ports and loading facilities was essential.
“I’m big on product quality – Australia is known for having quality meat and the transport delays can cause unnecessary stress on livestock, affecting the meat quality,’’ Ms Shepherd said.
“Improved connections and collaboration in the red meat supply chain are critical for the beef industry’s future.
“To remain profitable, producers need to be as efficient and effective as possible. To achieve this, there needs to be better communication throughout the supply chain between producer, processor and retailer.’’
Ms Shepherd is a member of Tasmanian Rural Youth and was keen to invest her time in the Cattle Council of Australia’s Rising Champions Initiative.
“Youth should be involved in every aspect of the industry – but they need to have some experience and knowledge to be politically engaged, and want to learn,’’ she said.
“Industry networking is the best way to meet people involved.
“Rising Champions will be an eye opener for me as to just what is out there.
“I’m looking forward to discussing with other people what they are involved in, and how they became part of Rising Champions.’’
Ms Shepherd said it was important for youth to have a say and be involved in industry policy and advocacy.
“I might be the youngest in the Rising Champions program but I saw it as an opportunity to learn,’’ she said.
“There are opportunities out there – we just need to go and find them.’’
As part of the Rising Champions Initiative, Laura will sit on Cattle Council’s research, development, environment and sustainability sub-committee. She has been mentored by former Rising Champion finalist Allison Horswill.
“I’m really interested in the research and development side, especially in roads and transport,’’ she said.
“The mentoring is important for me – to have someone to answer my questions and see how they got involved will be great.
“I’ll be in the right place and will make the most out of it.’’
The 2016 NAB Agribusiness Rising Champion Initiative national winner will be announced at a gala dinner at the National Museum of Australia, Canberra, on August 24.a
Laura Shepherd wants the spotlight put on improved road infrastructure for industry.
For further details, contact Caitlin Boucher at email@example.com or call (02) 6269 5600 or 0405 567 991.