Engagement, entertainment and education were key to the formation of the SPI (Speckle Park International) Youth program, which elected its committee in late 2020.
SPI Youth program committee chair Charlie Sutherland, said while the program will focus on creating a higher uptake of memberships from young people involved with the breed, membership is also open to people interested in the broader beef industry.
"While SPI Youth program membership is open for those aged seven to 25, the committees' vision is for support to flow from junior to senior to adult studmaster life," he said.
"This assistance could include enabling members to attend seminars on nutrition, pastures, succession planning and more. We're also building relationships with industry bodies to provide contacts and support for young breeders to assist in their career ambitions."
The program is designed to provide young breeders with a chance to progress their herds with advice and a plethora of educational materials (which will be made available on the SPI website), however, this support and knowledge will be available for members of all ages.
"Our aim is for this online directory to include how to videos, information on genetics, structure, AI, ET, and many other important factors in relation to breeding, as well as tip sheets covering topics such as junior judging and parading. There will also be exclusive content for members."
The committee is creating a revamped membership package to make it more appealing to members.
"The new package will provide exclusive opportunities for members, including invitations to meetings with industry leaders, newsletters, merchandise, and an endless supply of fun and useful information."
The program will also focus on improving support for schools.
"We'll be providing schools with Speckle Park educational materials, genetics for breeding programs, and show steers for students to break in, feed and prepare for competitions."
In the near future SPI Youth program members will be at the SPI exhibit in Rockhampton for Beef Australia 2021 in May, and a Speckle Park camp is a possibility for next year, Covid-19 dependent.
A virtual show is also on the cards, and slated for the end of 2021 at present.
"This event will include junior paraders, photos and videos of member's cattle, as well as a host of fun competitions and prizes. We'll be trying to get industry leaders involved as judges, so they can provide feedback on the animals presented."
A mentorship/scholarship program is another of the committees' long term goals.
"We think it'll help to improve relationships between Australian, New Zealand and Canadian breeders. There aren't many members in New Zealand at present so hopefully we'll increase engagement by providing these opportunities."