Australia's live export industry is in capable hands, judging by the enthusiasm and perception shown by the newly elected Young Livestock Exporters Network executive.
Over 30 people, nearly all under the age of 30, took part in the group's annual general meeting held in conjunction with the LIVEXchange conference in Darwin this week, described as a great boost for the future.
Austrex staff member Ollie Thorne, originally from Dubbo, NSW but now based in Brisbane, is the new chair, while NT-based Hugh Dawson, currently studying at Marcus Oldham College, Victoria, is the vice-chair.
The rest of the executive is made up of Northern Territory representatives - Munro Hardy, based at Carbeen Park, Katherine, who is the new secretary, Chloe Grant, who works for the Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association and also for Halleen Livestock Traders, is the treasurer, and Hamish Shannon, based in Darwin where he works for Australian Cattle Enterprises, is the officebearer.
According to Mr Thorne, it's the first committee with none of the founding members, which made them especially keen to carry forward what had been achieved in the last four years.
"We all feel a great responsibility but we're all pretty united in trying to expand our capacity to try and develop the next generation," he said.
"We're looking to provide many development opportunities for the younger generation in the export industry so that they can keep the industry going forward, to make sure we've got a place to work, to continue feeding the world."
As well as giving the younger generation the skills to handle opposition when it arises, they see YLEN as a support network when needed, as well as access to people across the broader industry.
"(YLEN) is gaining traction, a lot of respect now," Mr Hardy said.
"People are watching what's happening; it's very unique organisation and network, but it allows you to then make that call to someone you might want to develop a mentoring relationship with, and be able to call.
"That's very well received."
A 'Make the Manager' course run by Queensland's Jill Rigney is offered through the network, as well as media training and a number of webinars accessible around Australia.
Forty-seven per cent of the group's membership is made up of producers and the rest are involved in the export side of the business.
Thanks to a collaboration between Marcus Oldham, Livecorp and YLEN, four young people that work somewhere in the supply chain were selected to attend the LIVEXchange conference.
They include Tara Shields, who lives on a cattle station in the Kimberley, Piper Burnett, from Victoria River Downs in the NT, Sam Kerr, a production manager for a Speckle Park stud in NSW, and Billie Marshall, who operates a pregnancy testing contracting business in Perth, WA.
As well as immersing themselves in all the live export news at the conference, they were asked to speak with a group of school children about their careers.
ALSO IN THE NEWS: