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Rising Champion finalist says mentors essential

NAB Agribusiness Rising Champion finalist Jeremy Cummins.
NAB Agribusiness Rising Champion finalist Jeremy Cummins.

HAVING access to industry mentors is key to a successful career in the Australian beef industry, according to NAB Agribusiness Rising Champion finalist Jeremy Cummins.

Mr Cummins, 29, works for Teys Australia as a livestock manager and was named by Cattle Council of Australia as the NSW Rising Champion finalist for 2016.

He has mentored young trainees in the red meat industry and believes it is critical for youth to receive appropriate mentoring on industry issues.

"If there was some mentoring accompanying young people into industry representation, it would go a long way,'' he said. "They need to get a few runs on the board so young opinions can be validated by older heads, spend time in the industry and sit down at tables with people who may have completely different views.''

Mr Cummins was advised at a young age to connect with respected industry individuals and he now has a network of contacts he can discuss any business or personal concerns with.

Mr Cummins is being mentored by 2015 Rising Champion runner-up Geoff Birchnell as part of the initiative.

He hopes the experience can aid his long-term goal to be a manager of a vertically integrated agribusiness company.

"My career goals are to obtain as much industry knowledge as I can, through experience and networking,'' he said.

"Through Rising Champions I want to meet people in positions of influence, get my brand out there and hopefully opportunities will present themselves.”

Mr Cummins said young people looking for a career in agriculture needed to get out of their comfort zone and learn additional skills to make themselves more valuable to potential employers.

He said it was important young people "paid their dues” and were open to opportunities.

"It is easy for young people to pigeonhole themselves by doing what their parents did - they need to get out and work in other facets of the industry to get a rounded approach,'' he said.

"Don't become complacent - push yourself and see how other producers are working so when you do go back to your preferred area, you will have a different outlook on how decisions are made.''

Mr Cummins will sit on Cattle Council's animal health, welfare and biosecurity sub-committee as part of the Rising Champions Initiative.

"I'd like to know what Cattle Council is doing in regards to those issues and get an idea of the policies around it,'' he said. "I understand the policies on the ground but this will take my knowledge base to a new level on the areas of concern.

"I am a cattle producer and also work for a processor so I see both sides of the coin on a daily basis.”

The 2016 NAB Agribusiness Rising Champion Initiative winner will be announced on August 24.

Topics:  mentoring teys australia


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