Nurturing a beef passion from day one

Nurturing a beef passion from day one

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Lucy Morris at De Grey Park, in Capel, with Droughtmaster stud bulls owned by Richard (Dick) Vincent.

Lucy Morris at De Grey Park, in Capel, with Droughtmaster stud bulls owned by Richard (Dick) Vincent.

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Growing up on pastoral stations, Ms Morris was involved in agriculture from day one.

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GROWING up on pastoral stations, Lucy Morris was involved in agriculture from day one and her passion for the beef industry has continued to grow over the years.

Ms Morris's family owned stations in the Kimberley, about 150 kilometres south of Broome on the coast, and Gascoyne, about 200km north of Carnarvon, and according to her, you can't get a better upbringing.

"You couldn't think of a better childhood," Ms Morris said.

"You've got plenty of space, there's always something going on and it's a really social atmosphere, despite how isolated you are there's always people around.

"I've got three siblings and we were really active kids, all involved in station life right from the get go."

Ms Morris was home-schooled up until year eight and then went away to boarding school at St Hilda's in Mosman Park.

She thrived in school and upon graduation she was accepted into medical school and had every intention of being a doctor.

Like many 17-year-olds, she completed a gap year, although Ms Morris' was a bit different as she moved to the Western Australian and Northern Territory border to work at Flora Valley station.

"After my gap year at Flora Valley, I went to med school and did 18 months, but I just didn't love it like I thought I would," Ms Morris said.

"The beef industry and farming was in my blood and was just what I wanted to do.

"It has been the best decision for me and I haven't looked back since I decided the beef industry was where I wanted to be."

Leaving university, Ms Morris went on to work on cattle stations, looking at large-scale pastoral production as she wanted to learn from a few specific operators on how they handle large-scale but very productive country.

She worked at Pigeon Hole station in NT and Ruby Plains station in WA, before moving to work for International Live Exports (ILE) as a head stockman in the yards.

"Going into live export was really interesting," Ms Morris said.

"I really wanted to follow the supply chain and look at the broader picture of the beef industry and what was happening past the farm gate."

"It was in my role at ILE that I really committed to ag and decided it was what I wanted to do, I really enjoyed export, it was a challenge, it's fast paced and I was impressed to see and experience the industry standards behind it."

After ILE, Ms Morris went on to work for family-owned Wagyu and Angus breeder TW Pearson and Son, in Bunbury, for three years, during which time she joined the WA Cattle Council of Australia's Industry Systems and Food Safety Committee, stepped onto the board at WA Lot Feeders Association and got involved with AgConnect WA.

Lucy Morris with Buddy, the pet bull, in Broome.

Lucy Morris with Buddy, the pet bull, in Broome.

In March, she moved back to the Kimberley for her biggest career step to date, taking on the assistant manager role at the Roebuck Export Depot.

Ms Morris said it's an interesting position with a large indigenous workforce.

"We can have up to 16,000 head coming in within a few days, so I'm making sure that when the cattle are in the quarantine depot, they're receiving the best possible care that we can provide, as well as co-ordinating shipments and making sure there is space available," she said.

"I really enjoy seeing the quality of the cattle that we're putting into the market and I get satisfaction out of knowing that the cattle we're sending is a safe, fresh meat source for countries which quite possibly wouldn't be able to afford that without us.

"I get satisfaction knowing that the cattle we send over are going to provide meat to families to ensure there are no physical or mental disabilities in the children over there, due to a lack of protein."

Looking to the future, Ms Morris hopes to get into more of a consulting role, where she can help share her love for the beef industry.

"I'm quite passionate about the systems behind the Australian beef industry," she said.

"I want to make sure that the knowledge is there and being spread at a ground level of what people need to be doing, in order to make sure we're upholding the Australian beef brand, as it's important we protect that."

Ms Morris's passion for agriculture extends beyond just the beef industry, she believes it to be one of the most noble jobs in the world as farmers have been providing food since the beginning of modern times.

"In Australia we export such a large percentage of what we produce and in times like this, especially with coronavirus, we've really seen the importance of home-grown food stability," she said,

"Everyone involved in the industry is doing it for the same cause, we're all pushing to provide this amazing product.

"We provide a beautiful, safe, affordable and culturally appropriate protein source to families around the world, making sure they're able to thrive and get through life with great health outcomes."

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