Meet the woman reshaping the future of the beef industry
LEADING the pack in reshaping the future of the beef industry is Clermont business woman and entrepreneur, Elisha Parker.
Ms Parker is one of seven state finalists in the 2020 NAB Agribusiness Rising Champion Initiative, a program designed to develop and support young, passionate members of the Australian beef industry.
The mother of two was recognised for her role co-founding cattle marketing and advertising website, cattlesales.com.au and the education campaign A True Story: From the heart of Qld.
Ms Parker, who is also a practising lawyer, was in her office juggling legal work, Cattlesales work and preparation for the A True Story Ekka 2019 site display when she found out she had been named a finalist.
"I have wanted to apply for a few years as it is a great initiative and program," she said.
"There have been a number of high calibre people over the past few years who have won and I see I have some tough competition this year.
"But it is very exciting to be one of the finalists and I am excited to be working with some of the people in the industry who can help influence change."
In 2016, Ms Parker, along with her friend Annabelle Woods, launched cattlesales.com.au, a national online cattle sales platform that also provides marketing tools and technology to livestock agents.
Some sellers report as many as 1000 views on mobs of cattle in a 24-hour period.
"We had an idea that we could help livestock agents gain a wider market reach, quicker turnover of cattle and reach more buyers if they could advertise cattle on an independent online platform," she said.
"It is designed to also make it quicker and easier for buyers to find cattle that are available that they wouldn't have otherwise known about because they are in the next district or shire.
"We figured other industries had done it with cars and real estate, so it should work with cattle."
She is also a founder and director of the agricultural advocacy group, QLD Food Future Inc., which works to educate consumers and change common misconceptions about the agriculture industry.
This is achieved through their campaign A True Story: From the heart of Qld.
"I think it is a pretty tedious time for the ag industry," she said.
"We launched it last year in response to the changes that were proposed to the vegetation management act.
"We just felt it was worthwhile trying to deliver a grassroots message from farmers and graziers about how legislation and regulation can impact the agricultural industry and the production of food and fibre.
"We wanted to get that message to voters and consumers and to try and clear up some of the mistruths in response to the propaganda campaigns that are run in south-east Queensland.
She said the campaign had seen such a great success and would continue to spread its message at the Ekka, where volunteer farmers share their stories and information.
Ms Parker also has a keen interest in the role that young industry participants will play in shaping the future of the beef sector.
She said with today's advancements in technology people can do anything they set their mind to.
"Even the smallest effort can go a long way in helping to bring change," she said.
"I would encourage anyone if they are interested to put their hand up and have a go. It is certainly worthwhile if we can make the future of the industry even greater than it is today."
Cattle Council president Tony Hegarty said the Rising Champions program would help finalists take the "next step" in their careers.
"Boosting the sustainability of the beef industry is a key objective of ours, and we see development of our young industry participants as being critical to achieving this," he said.
The seven state finalists will attend an intensive three-day leadership development workshop in Canberra this month, where they will meet with politicians, network with departmental staff, and learn a range of leadership and communication techniques.
The national 2020 NAB Agribusiness Beef Industry Rising Champion will be announced at the annual Gala Dinner in Canberra on August 14.