Former Cloncurry cattleman Alexander (Zanda) McDonald has been posthumously awarded the Merial Howard Yelland Beef Industry Award for 2016.
The Australian Beef Industry Foundation (ABIF) and Marcus Oldham College with support of sponsor Merial Australia made the presentation to Marjorie Daley, a cousin of Mr McDonald and representative of the McDonald family, at the Marcus Oldham Rural Leadership dinner last month.
Mr McDonald was tragically killed in an on farm accident at Cloncurry in April 2013.
The award is in recognition of Howard W Yelland, a pioneer and leader in the Australian beef industry who championed objective selection and performance recording for beef cattle.
Australian Beef Industry Foundation chairman John Gunthorpe said the award recognised individuals who gave “above and beyond” service to the industry.
“He with other family members managed MDH (McDonald Holdings) one of the largest family owned beef operations in Australia consisting of 11 properties totalling 3.6 million hectares and running in excess of 200,000 head of cattle,” Mr Gunthorpe said.
“Under Mr McDonald’s stewardship, he transformed a family cattle company producing live export into a global food supplier exporting branded quality beef product to 18 countries.
“As chair of the Northern Australia Beef Research Committee he worked with the CSIRO to research and introduce genetics to improve the meat quality of tropical beef production.
“Ethical production of beef and animal welfare was another area of his passion, again working with research organisations to pioneer the development and use of anaesthetic sprays to reduce trauma of branding, dehorning and castration in beef cattle.
“Well before his time he recognised the importance of consumers understanding that the products they consumed were raised and processed ethically.
“Not only did he care about the welfare of his cattle he cared and supported the people who managed those cattle from paddock to plate.”
Mr Gunthorpe said networks were an important part of Mr McDonald’s vision.
“The establishment of a network of 120 farmers across Australia and New Zealand to promote southern hemisphere food production to the world will be recognised as one of his legacies,” Mr Gunthorpe said.
“Being a leader can be a lonely place.
“The traditional northern beef industry was often sceptical of his vision for the future of northern beef production but as a leader and innovator he shared his vision and was supported by people who saw value in the opportunities he saw for the northern beef industry.
“He lived to see the changes he advocated for improved genetics and improved supply chain management become the new direction for the industry.”