Third-generation Brahman breeder Ryan Olive has been recognised as a trailblazer in the beef industry being named 2021 Rabobank Young Beef Ambassador at Beef Australia
Mr Olive, 33, from Raglan Station in Central Queensland, was presented with the award in front of more than 450 guests, including Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud, at the Rabobank Beef Industry Awards Dinner at Beef Australia 2021.
The award – which is presented every three years at Beef Australia, the nation’s largest beef expo – recognises young, forward-thinking and high-achieving beef producers. This year saw a record number of nominations from across the country.
Presenting the award, Rabobank Australia CEO Peter Knoblanche said Ryan Olive’s leadership and vision extended beyond his family’s own extensive Brahman operation – with his development of a feedlot and live-export facility on the Raglan property creating additional markets for beef producers throughout Central Queensland.
“To get both developments off the ground since returning to the business 15 years ago shows how proactive and effective Ryan is as a leader, “Mr Knoblanche said. “And with his track-record to date, it will be exciting to see where he is in another 15 years.”
Recognising the important role and contribution of young, up-and-coming producers in the beef industry, Mr Knoblanche said Mr Olive was also fast becoming a strong industry leader as treasurer of the Young Livestock Exporters Network and as an executive of the Queensland Livestock Exporters Association (QLEA). And just recently, Mr Olive was selected to participate in the 2021 Graeme Acton Beef Connections mentor program.
This industry leadership, Mr Knoblanche said, would be further boosted by receiving a scholarship – as part of Mr Olive’s Young Beef Ambassadorship – to attend this year’s Rabobank Executive Development Program (EDP) – designed to develop the strategic planning mindset and commercial management skills of progressive farmers.
As operations manager of the Raglan cattle-handling facility and feedlot on the family’s 10,000 hectare holdings, south of Rockhampton, Mr Olive comes from a long line of Brahman producers, with both sets of grandparents being heavily involved in the industry and his parents, Andrew and Roxanne, breeding grey Brahmans for more than three decades as part of their stud and commercial cattle operation.
Initiating the development of the live export facility, Mr Olive oversaw the building of the state-of-the-art cattle-handling facility, which has been servicing live-export trade from Port Alma, south of Rockhampton, since 2018.
“The cattle come in and get weighed, and from there they are put into lines according to the buyers’ specifications,” Mr Olive said. Quarantine protocols and two veterinary inspections also take place onsite before cattle board the boats.
The cattle-handling facility, he says, has opened up another market for producers in Central Queensland.
“The opportunity was identified with the large volume of good quality heavy cattle in the area – particularly into Vietnam and China, with the Chinese market predominately chasing premium cuts and cattle that may have done 100 days on grain,” Mr Olive said.
The facility – which has handled cattle bound for China, Indonesia and Vietnam – has greatly reduced freight costs for Central Queensland cattle producers with Port Alma only 46 kilometres from the Raglan facility, he said.
“There are a lot of people that deliver half or deck lots to Raglan that would otherwise not be viable to truck to Townsville in small numbers,” he said.
Mr Olive said, the cattle-handling facility was complemented by the 1000-head feedlot the business had recently established on the property, with the first consignment of 480 custom-fed cattle entering the system last month.
“We’re in a reasonably good location here,” he said, “we’ve got very good access to a lot of saleyards and abattoirs, with three processing facilities within 150 kilometres,” he said.
With both operations now up and running, Mr Olive says he is “enjoying the fast-paced nature of live export” and “feedlotting is that natural progression of cattle going through a feeding system.”
And, he sees a very big future for the beef industry.
“Anything to do with protein is going to be in demand in years to come with a growing population, and the longer Australia can maintain a very good health status, we are in a ‘box seat’ in terms of supplying that protein around the world,” he said.
“You only have to look at the prices that cattle are currently trading for. It’s a good indication of the high demand for beef, with that demand driving our price up by some degree in recent times.
“There is a lot of confidence in the industry right now and it’s good to see.”
With the Rabobank Young Beef Ambassador Award attracting nominations from young people in the beef sector across the country, Mr Knoblanche said the bank had been supporting the initiative since 2009 as a means of investing in the next generation of farmers.
“The award is judged on the nominee’s successful and progressive approach to farm business management as well as their potential as a leader and contributor to the beef industry,” he said.
“It is an exciting time to be involved in the beef industry – and the record number of nominations and calibre of all those involved – is testament to how bright that future is.”