NAB Agribusiness Rising Champions Initiative

The NAB Agribusiness Rising Champion Initiative commenced in 2010 and is now its 7th year. 2017 attracted some of the best young leaders in the country to apply for the initiative.

Cattle Council aims to inspire, empower and support young people, who are passionate about the Australian beef industry and to provide them with an opportunity to be directly involved. It makes sense that the cattle producers and stakeholders of tomorrow are involved in the planning that occurs today. That’s why Cattle Council is offering young people passionate about the Australian beef industry the opportunity to have a say and be heard by the decision makers. 

The NAB Agribusiness Rising Champion Initiative will provide you with the opportunity to network with some of Australia’s beef professionals. The contacts gained within this program will contribute to your progression within the beef industry.

Through the professional development workshop and attendance at the National Gala Dinner applicants are given an insight in the Australian beef industry, the Cattle Council of Australia operations, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) operations and network with industry representatives, sponsors, state farming organisations and parliamentary figures. The opportunity to broaden your interpersonal skills throughout our workshops will allow you to market yourself and learn how to represent yourself in a professional and clear manner for your future endeavours. 

How to apply: Applicants will need to submit a written application outlining their passion for the beef industry. It is not a requirement of the initiative that applicants have qualifications or directly own cattle, but applicants do need to demonstrate a passion and commitment to creating in-roads for Australia’s beef industry. Application forms are available for download or by contacting or (02) 6269 5600. 

Applications close: Applications for the 2017 NAB Agribusiness Rising Champion Initiative have now closed. 2018 Applications will open at the end of 2017. 

Professional Workshop: The State and Territory (ACT/NSW combined) finalists came to Canberra ACT on Monday 11th and Tuesday 12th September for an all-expenses paid trip to take part in the Process of Government and How to influence Change workshopWithin this intensive 2 day workshop entrants learnt key leadership skills including communications, media training, public speaking, received presentations on industry issues, met with the DAWR and took part in tours and ministerial meetings at Parliament House. 

National Selection: State and Territory (ACT/NSW combined) finalists will be invited to interview with the National selection panel in Alice Springs NT on 20th November 2017 (travel, accommodation and meals will be covered). The interview will include a 5 minute presentation by the finalists focusing on their chosen area of concern within the Australian beef industry

The 2017 National Rising Champion will be announced at the Gala Dinner held in Alice Springs, NT, on the evening of the 20th November 2017.

The 2017 NAB Agribusiness Rising Beef Industry Champion will represent Australia’s beef producers in the 2018 Five Nations’ Beef Alliance meeting and beef tour. Other social events will be held throughout the year that the Rising Champion will be invited to attend.


Cattle Council would like to thank the following for their support in the NAB Agribusiness Rising Champions Initiative:

  • Gold Sponsor: NAB Agribusiness;
  • Silver Sponsor: McDonalds Australia;
  • Media Sponsor: Fairfax Rural Media; and
  • State Farming Organisation members of Cattle Council (AgForce Queensland, NSW Farmers' Association, Tasmanian Farmers' and Graziers Association, WA Farmers, Pastoralists and Graziers Association of WA, Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association, Victorian Farmers' Federation, Livestock SA).




2016 Finalists

Kristy-Lee Fogarty, Northen Territory

Kristy-Lee Fogarty is 25 years old. Kristy lives and works on her family's Organic Cattle property Palmer Valley Station 150km south of Alice Springs NT. The cattle industry has alway been a big part of Kristy's life up and work on a station. She then attended  the University of New England where she studied a Bachelor of Agribusiness.

"I'm so excited to be lucky enough be representing the NT in the Cattle Council Rising champion. I look forward to meeting all the other Finalists and networking with other young people in the cattle industry," Kristy-Lee said.



Laura Shepherd, Tasmania

22 year old Laura Shepherd, from northern Tasmania has always shown an interest in the beef industry. This interest developed from her grandmother who was involved in the industry. Laura recently completed her university studies at the Australian Maritime College in Tasmania studying Logistics Management, with a final year research assignment on the supply chain of the Australian beef industry. Laura believes that live export of cattle is vital to the Australian economy and in the future wishes to play an active role in the industry with a focus on the transportation developments and welfare issues. She believes that more integration along the supply chain allows efficient and effective operations. Laura applied for the NAB Agribusiness Rising Champion Initiative to increase her knowledge in the industry, further her industry networking and to share ideas and opinions.



Hannah Marshall, South Australia

Hannah's passion for the beef industry began when she commenced her degree in Animal Science at the University of Adelaide in 2012. While at the university Hannah participated in and helped run the Led Steers show team. She gained an insight into the world of feeding up cattle for showing as well as the impacts this has on the carcase composition of the animal once on hook. This was further cemented during her participation as a Senior Herdsman in the SA Junior Heifer Expo.
Hannah completed the Stockman’s training course run by Livecorp and MLA in Fremantle during 2013, further solidifying her interest in beef cattle, particularly in Live Exports. In 2014 Hannah participated in the Intercollegiate Meat Judging Competition where sher placed as a finalist. This led to a week-long intensive look into the meat sector in southern Queensland. After this Hannah represented Australia in the United States as a member of the Australian Meat Judging team which included spending a month on an agriculture tour of the United States which she said really opened up her eyes to international markets and trade.
She also toured the Indonesian beef industry in late 2014.

"A highlight was visiting the TUM Company and seeing the supply chain of Australian cattle from entry into the feedlot through to the wet markets. During my final year of study I gained employment at Adelaide Plains Feedlot. Here I was mentored into the role of Livestock Supervisor, a job I absolutely love. This has seen me gain an understanding in the domestic market and has provided me with the opportunity to work with different exporters and importing countries sending shipments of live cattle overseas," Hannah said.


Weldon Percy, Western Australia

Weldon was born into the third generation of a successful stud cattle and livestock producing family in the North Island of New Zealand. Being raised and involved in every aspect of the family business also lead to spending a significant amount of time travelling with his father to Australian cattle studs and developing a love of the Australian climate and lifestyle.

Weldon moved to Australia at age 17 to further his career in the Beef Industry. Initially working for Australian Agricultural Company and then other large private station cattle producers. This proved a valuable insight into supply chains and lot feeding on a large scale and allowed him to gain more flying experience having held a private aeroplane license from age of 16.In 2008 he obtained a commercial helicopter license in Sydney NSW. Weldon has now had in excess of 7 seasons of helicopter mustering experience and many thousands of hours flying time. Having gained exposure servicing mining, corporate and government agency aviation clients in WA has also given him an opportunity to develop a broader understanding of the general  business community whilst maintaining a strong focus on developing a career in beef cattle and agriculture.

At the beginning of 2014 Weldon formed a partnership with Perth businessman Martin Blakeman and founded the company Fortescue Helicopters by purchasing the business assets of two existing Pilbara helicopter operators one of whom he was was previously working for. A sound focus on a high standard of cattle handling and a "black and white" approach to business has seen the company secure itself as a leading supplier of Aerial Mustering and Helicopter Charter services to Western Australia.

Continuing his life long passion for the Beef Industry sees Weldon continually pursuing networking and educational opportunities to further his depth of knowledge in the beef industry and work together with fiancé Lisa (whom is also very passionate about Agriculture) toward their future beef industry and life goals.

Weldon looks forward to continuing to learn more about the beef industry corporate structure through opportunities such as rising champions and thanks the Cattle Council for the chance to participate in this initiative. 


Rob Ewing, Victoria

Rob Ewing grew up in the western district at Dunkeld. As a kid growing up Rob was always either rearing a lamb or calf or mucking around with horses. After leaving school Rob went on to do a diesel mechanic apprenticeship. After finishing the apprenticeship Rob decided to go on a working holiday to a Queensland cattle station just as the GFC hit. On return that’s when Rob said he knew he had to go farming. Rob then helped out with a stock agent for a little while and even though he enjoyed it, it wasn't quite for him. Rob got in contact with James McCormack the manager at TeMania Angus, he and Tom Gubbins gave Rob the start he needed. Rob said he enjoyed a great team at TeMania and that under James' tutelage he learnt a lot about cattle genetics, husbandry and all things associated with seedstock production. Rob said he found his calling here.

Aftter a tragedy in his family Rob had to leave TeMania and shift across to Gippsland. Here he oversaw a commercial beef and lamb property but the challenge just wasn’t there. When an opportunity came up to manage Yancowinna Angus Rob grabbed it. Rob has now been working at Yancowinna now for four years and in that time he has become a small equity owner in the cow herd, participated in the Marcus Oldham Rural Leaders program, been to New Zealand on a bull inspection tour and won the New Zealand FIeldays People’s Choice Rural Bachelor of the year competition.


Kirsty McCormack, Queensland  (2016 NATIONAL RISING CHAMPION)

Kirsty McCormack is a passionate young woman currently working for OBE Organic based in Brisbane. Hailing from the New England region in NSW, Kirsty’s experience in industry has spanned across the supply chain - from working alongside her family contract mustering, leading Stud cattle, meat judging and now to her role of Sales and Production Executive at OBE.

This love of the land brought her to study a Bachelor of Rural Science at the University of New England. Throughout this time, she learned the science behind agriculture and on-farm decision making, and the implications they can have along the supply chain. Throughout her time at university Kirsty has also been heavily involved in a number of committees and programs to further her knowledge and perspective of production across Australia and the globe. Completing agricultural tours through Cambodia, Vietnam and China with UNE and the Syngenta Connections Program in the Philippines, Kirsty realised the ability and obligation we have in Australia to continue providing safe quality food for the world.

Through being a Young Farming Champion in the Art4Agriuclture program, the exposure Kirsty has had with school children in urban areas has increased her awareness of the need for transparency and education throughout the beef supply chain to allow consumers to reconnect with their food.

“Any opportunity to showcase the innovative technologies that are being used within the beef industry, and the power of social media is one step in the right direction”, says Kirsty.  She believes that the opportunity to participate in the Cattle Councils Rising Champion program will allow her to further promote and brand Australian beef both domestically and on a national scale.

Jeremy Cummins, New South Wales

Jeremy is currently working as a Livestock Buyer for Teys Australia based in the New England region. Jeremy and his wife also run a cattle trading business on their property near Somerton NSW. They target the feedlot and domestic butcher trade and aim to continue to grow their business. Whilst completing a degree in Agricultural Commerce at Charles Sturt University Jeremy took a gap year and worked for the Australian Agricultural Company as a jackaroo in the Northern Territories Victoria River District. 

While jackerooing Jeremy said he developed an even stronger love of the beef industry and the personalities that come with it. Over the last six years working for Teys he has had the opportunity to work with producers throughout Eastern Australia. Jeremy said he believes hands-on industry experience is essential and this must be backed by education. In 2015 he completed a Masters of Agribusiness Management. Jeremy believes there needs to be a huge transformation of how producers are rewarded for their product and the pricing mechanisms behind this. Jeremy sees animal welfare and biosecurity as key issues facing Australian producers and believes this must be addressed in order to keep Australian producers at the forefront of a global industry.

"I see a huge change in the beef industry as a whole over the next 10 years and believe the Rising Champions initiative will allow me to use my education and industry experience to learn more about the formation and development of policy within the beef industry and be able to be involved the changes ahead," Jeremy said.


2015 Rising Champion - Kevin Stark, Victoria

Kevin has completed a Bach of Aerospace Engineering but he believed he was destined to return to his family property, were he now co-manages with his family that operate cattle, sheep and irrigation in Southern Victoria. Kevin has a strong community focus and wishes to increase his engagement particularly with state youth groups. Kevin has goals to increase the genetic capabilities of his stud herd, whilst maintaining his commercial herd operation. Kevin’s personal career goals are to increase his input into policy making committees as well as increase his marketing and promotion of beef within Victoria. Kevin believes that with his knowledge he could assist within gaining awareness on competitiveness on a world stage as well input into increasing promotion of the Australian grassfed product. Kevin applied for the NAB Agribusiness Rising Champion Initiative to increase his networking profile, grasp policy decisions and market focus areas, so he can begin to input into State and National issues within SFOs and Cattle Council.  

 Further questions can be directly emailed to Margo Andrae via

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