Backing your industry

So many people will spend their entire lives working tirelessly on the land, labouring quietly behind the scenes, but Bryce Camm has stepped out to speak up.

On his LinkedIn page, Bryce Camm presents a pretty impressive resume: Chairman of Beef Australia, Chairman of the Australian Beef Sustainability Steering Group and the Immediate Past President of the Australian Lot Feeders Association. All of this whilst running his family’s beef business, with properties across Queensland. 

Cattle have always been Bryce’s bread and butter. He grew up on Natal Downs in North Queensland, bouncing between life on the station, with its big musters distant horizons, and boarding school, then university, in the city. 

It was just after completing a dual degree in just two and a half years that Bryce got the news that his mother had been involved in a serious horse accident.

“She played a really crucial role in our family business, so I felt a need to come back home immediately and help out,” he said.

“I guess it meant I didn’t get that opportunity to head off and sort of do other things, I think, you know, at a very young age, I had an opportunity to be taking on responsibility and parts of our business that that, that we otherwise would not have.”

So Bryce went south; managing the family’s Wonga Plains Feedlot. In comparison to his lessons in business school, the realities of this new role quickly hit him. 

“I used to say to my university friends in jest, ‘you’ve got it so easy when you start a business, you just have to focus on that business. I have to manage the business and then turn around and manage my family as well.’”

Bryce in his ‘Bryce’ workshirt by Antola Trading

Bryce only added to this juggle when he began to step into industry roles.

The thing about the Australian Feedlot Industry, he explained, is that, for so long, it has been run “on the smell of an oily rag.”

“I stepped into ALFA (Australian Lot Feeders Association) out of love, but I don’t think that, in 2021, these jobs should necessarily be love jobs.”

“Look at the Australian feedlot industry, it’s a multi-billion-dollar industry. It’s some $8 billion to the national economy, it’s some of the largest protein companies in the world.”

Despite this, when it comes to speaking up for itself, Bryce sees the Australian red meat industry as being “a bit late to the party.”

“I think the global conversation about the climate has been happening around us without us being a very active participant. But I think that is changing rapidly.”

Beef, he sees, has been the victim of socialised virtue signaling. But, as the industry begins to call this out, society is shifting its misconceptions.

“People are becoming a bit over that person who is virtue signalling about all of their lifestyle choices and trying to impose or encourage them on other people.”

“Especially in the wake of the pandemic people have come to see that, when you can’t go overseas or on your ski trip, sitting down with a good steak and a bottle of red wine with your nearest and dearest, well, that’s a very sweet pleasure.”

To listen to Bryce’s episode, head to your favourite podcast app and search ‘Humans of Agriculture’ or listen below.

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