We caught up with former Angus Youth member Jason Siddell to see what he is up to now, and how Angus Youth affected his development in the industry.
Make sure you check out the gallery of where are they now images featuring the former Angus Youth members featured in the bulletin series so far!
What is your earliest memory of/participating in Angus Youth activities?
My earliest Angus Youth memory is being interviewed for the Semex Genetics Michigan State University Scholarship and Andrew Stebbings Memorial UK Scholarship in 2006
What activity/event stands out to you the most and in terms of opportunities that you received for being part of Angus Youth, how did your involvement positively influence your development in the beef cattle industry?
What stands out is being awarded the 2006 Andrew Stebbings Memorial UK Scholarship, which gave me the opportunity to travel throughout England and Scotland for 6 weeks staying with and visiting some of the largest, oldest and most respected Aberdeen Angus herds in the United Kingdom. Visiting famous landmarks, attending and judging at Royal shows in Scotland and England were a real highlight, but visiting Charlie McCombie, a descendent of William McCombie at Auchincrieve where descendants of the Tillyfour herd grazed, was quite surreal. The generosity showed to me by Trevor and Kate Stebbings and Aberdeen Angus members throughout England and Scotland is something that I will never forget.
What were the key learnings you developed through these experiences?
The scholarship experience enhanced my knowledge and understanding of the beef industry and farming systems on a global scale. Visiting the UK and administering mineral boluses into cows that were 750-950 kg after weaning 8 month old calves and seeing 1400kg Angus bulls in the paddock really dispelled myths in relation to the size of Angus cattle in the UK.
From this experience I also took note of the similarities in Angus genetics used around the world and the potential narrowing of the global gene pool. I also gained a greater appreciation for the genetic progress made in the Australian beef industry through the use of BREEDPLAN as a selection tool, its use by Aberdeen-Angus members and the impact Meat Standards Australia (MSA) has had on improving eating quality within Australian Cattle industry.
How are you involved in the beef cattle industry now/where are you now?
I am currently employed in livestock research as a Development Officer (Extensive Livestock) with the NSW Department of Primary Industries after spending the previous 8 years in NSW government livestock extension roles. In my current role I am part of a team of scientists from NSW Department of Primary Industries and University of Technology Sydney developing 3D camera technology to objectively assess live cattle in real time to make predictions of hip height, P8 fat and muscle score, funded by Meat and Livestock Australia. I am also involved in a large scale Multi Breed beef cattle project called “Southern Multibreed” which is co-funded by NSW Department of Primary Industries, University of New England, Meat & Livestock Australia and the Commonwealth Government through the MLA Donor Company.
In my spare time I also own and manage Fig Tree Park Angus in conjunction with my partner Laura Penrose and my children Jake and Grace Siddell at Wandsworth in Northern NSW.
Why would you encourage others to become involved in the Angus Youth Program through the scholarships and bursaries program opportunities?
Angus Youth has a proven history of developing beef industry professionals which have played and continue to play a pivotal role in the success of the Australian beef industry.
Not only will you make friends and life-long industry contacts but the knowledge and skills that you will gain by attending Roundups and embracing scholarship and bursaries program opportunities, will kick start your career.
This was especially evident to me after co-ordinating the Angus Youth Glen Innes Roundup in 2011. The opportunity to see first-hand the knowledge, skills and generosity of young people involved in the Angus Youth movement, definitely cemented in my mind that the Australian beef industry was going to be in good hands moving forward.
Then – Jason Siddell receiving the Kathleen and David Cornell Shield from Angus Australia CEO, Peter Parnell, as coordinator of the 2011 Roundup in Glen Innes NSW.
Now – Jason has forged a career in the beef industry and works as a Development Officer (Extensive Livestock) with the NSW Department of Primary Industries.