WA's champ keen to fight for ag

14 Nov, 2011 02:00 AM
Wellard head stockman Clinton Gartrell is committed to helping the agriculture industry try and bring young people back.
Wellard head stockman Clinton Gartrell is committed to helping the agriculture industry try and bring young people back.

YOUNG leaders in agriculture are becoming harder to find but WA's 2011-2012 Cattle Council of Australia Rising Beef Industry Champions Initiative representative is keen to change that.

Wellard Rural Exports head stockman Clinton Gartrell (26) is a young and enthusiastic bloke who is willing to look at the big picture.

Mr Gartrell is looking to the future and he knows that the agricultural industry needs to act now in order to secure its long-term sustainability.

He understands there is a shortage of young people in agriculture but he is willing to go one step further and help the industry to try and bring young people back to agriculture.

"I want to make a change in the industry," Mr Gartrell said.

"I can see how hard it is for my in-laws and my father when he was farming.

"I can see that there are problems that need to be fixed and in WA we are probably a bit slower in fixing the issues than other States."

Mr Gartrell believes there is a strong future in agriculture and believes there are plenty of opportunities for young people.

"Primary industry accounts for what Australia is really about," he said.

"A good percentage of the land in Australia is getting used for primary industry.

"If we can't make it work then we are either one, not utilising the land to what we should or, two, we are doing something wrong."

Mr Gartrell admits that it is going to be a challenge to change the perception of agriculture among young people but has a strong belief it can be done.

"It is hard to try and attract young people to the industry but you need to start by stopping young people from leaving," he said.

"Obviously there is not a hell of a lot of money in the industry especially for small scale.

"It is a lot easier to keep a customer than to get new ones and that's essentially what it comes down to.

"So if we can find a way to keep young people involved in agriculture and get them settled then we can look at bringing other young people back."

Mr Gartrell will travel to Longreach, Queensland, for a gala dinner on November 16 where the 2012 NAB Agribusiness Rising Beef Industry Champion will be announced.

He said being nominated for the award would hopefully help him network with more young people in the industry.

"I think my industry experience is probably a little green but I hope this award gives me an outside perspective of what's going on," he said.

"Obviously the guys I am up against have a lot more experience than I do, with a lot of them fourth generation farmers and that sort of thing but hopefully it gives me more of a perspective on the issues that are going on in the industry and how we can sort of approach them and how we can fix them."

Mr Gartrell currently works as a head stockman for livestock exporter, Wellards.

He said the industry was severely affected by the Four Corners footage which led to the banning of live cattle exports to Indonesia earlier this year and said that was one of the issues he wanted to work on.

"There are plenty of issues but obviously animal welfare is the hot topic and I am at the frontline of animal welfare," he said.

"Obviously when the Four Corners episode came out it slowed my workload up a bit but I come across people who either listen to what I have to say or ignore what I have to say.

"Obviously animal welfare is a big one along with traceability and that will be one of the things I will be focusing on during my trip to Queensland."

Mr Gartrell said it was a great honour to be WA's representative for the award.

"I am a bit shocked about how it has all come about to be quite honest," he said.

"At the end of the day it is a great networking opportunity for me with the other finalists and the people from the Cattle Council.

"I won't stop fighting for agriculture after this. I will keep going that's for sure."



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