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Bringing city to the party

UNDERSTANDING: Sam Trethewey, a beef, cattle and cereal producer from Victoria, will speak about how to enhance rural and urban relationships at today’s FRCC AGM.
UNDERSTANDING: Sam Trethewey, a beef, cattle and cereal producer from Victoria, will speak about how to enhance rural and urban relationships at today’s FRCC AGM. Contributed

GRAZIERS from across Central Queensland are expected to travel to Rockhampton today for the Fitzroy River Coastal Catchment's AGM.

A range of speakers will address attendees on everything from youth programs to PhD programs.

Sam Trethewey, a beef, wool and cereal producer from Leighburn in rural Victoria, will present a talk on how to enhance rural and urban understanding.

"Some kids would almost think that meat comes from packets at the supermarket," he said with a laugh.

"At the end of the day we live in a country where food is taken for granted; we can get as much as we want, whenever we want, anytime we want."

But Sam said it was not constructive to make city dwellers feel like they were being looked down on for having no knowledge.

"The issue is we have with urban and rural disconnect, and perhaps some of the frustrations of people in the industry and the frustration of city people, is the perception that they need to be educated," he said.

"Educating doesn't sound good.

"There's a huge gap in knowledge for country people too … look at Crocodile Dundee."

Sam also said sharing stories and building trust with consumers would improve relations.

"It's about helping people understand where and why their food is created, so when issues happen in the media … with compromises in industry about health or security, (they understand) that farmers are out doing the best thing for their animals and their produce," he said.

"When they're given a fairly one-sided response (in the media), unfortunately they don't have a strong trust with the agriculture sector."

Sam also addressed the messages being put out in the community relating to how much city people need farmers.

"A guilt trip is not very constructive," he said.

"They don't get up every morning to feed the world, they get up to run their business," he said.

The AGM will also hear from Don Menzies, who began his PhD at CQUniversity last month on reproduction in northern breeding herds and the use of telemetry.

"I want to set up a platform for where telemetry is used in agriculture and non-agriculture," he said.

"Looking outside of agriculture industry, there's a lot happening in the mining industry."

Don said telemetry could be useful for recording soil water, so farmers could pinpoint when the best time to irrigate was.

It is also being used to track cattle movements with a computer system and Taggle ear tags.

"The first thing people think of it is for mustering … (but it can also be used to determine) when heifers reach puberty in the stud industry," Don said.

The computer system can be used to track cows and bulls, and when cows are seen to be getting closer to the bulls they can tell when they reach puberty.

This gives stud farmers an opportunity to begin breeding earlier.

Don began his career in animal science in 1993, and moved to Rockhampton in 1996 to begin his involvement in the northern beef industry.

He has focused on project management solutions to the livestock industry since 2008.

Topics:  cattle grazier lifestyle livestock