2022 Georgina Pastoral Future NTCA Report – Henry Ponder

Henry Ponder was selected as one of the Barkly Branch candidates for the 2022 intake of the Georgina Pastoral Future NTCA program. The following article was written by Henry detailing his experiences in the program.

My name is Henry Ponder, I have been in the Northern Territory cattle industry for a few years. Currently, I am a pilot for Consolidated Pastoral Company based out of Newcastle Waters Station. This year I am grateful to have been a part of the Georgina Pastoral Future NTCA Program.

At the start of 2022, I was one of a small group lucky enough to be selected in the Georgina Pastoral Future NTCA Program. Throughout the year I have been exposed to a variety of different sectors within the Northern Territory cattle industry. Some of the experiences have been the NTCA conference and the LIVEXchange conference. The program has also offered valuable tools including the Business Edge course, DISC profiling and media training. Throughout the year I have found the exposure and tools to be invaluable. It has motivated me to excel in my role and has aided me to set up and begin fulfilling my goals.

For me this year, it was attending the LIVEXchange conference that captured me the most. I was able to spend a week in a room full of knowledge. It was kicked off with a talk by Major General Stephen Day who shared his thoughts on leadership. Two points that really stood out to me were ‘objective’ and ‘humanity’. The reason ‘objective’ captured me so much was what you could achieve if your objective was clear and had a simple answer. Similarly, ‘humanity’ stayed with me because people are the backbone of this tough industry, if we didn’t support and connect the way we do, we would be working in a very different environment.

I wasn’t involved in the live export industry during the live export ban and sadly I had only heard what I believe to be a one-sided story. Knowing that people are willing to shut down an industry overnight, an industry that supplies half the meat to an entire country is ridiculous but now known to be possible. I found a lot of insight listening to the panel with Tracey Hayes, Peter Barnard, Greg Pankhurst and Donal Sullivan, hearing what it was like for the people directly involved during that hard time. “Twenty percent of calories eaten, cross at least one border”, hearing Mathias Corman the Secretary General for the OECD perspective, highlighted the importance of live export. Corman continued, “livestock output must grow 30 percent in the next decade”, expressing that protein producers are going to have to grow by becoming more efficient to keep up with population growth.

Having CN30 explained to me was like putting on sunnies during a glary day. I found it insightful hearing that it is not going to be a hurdle and that agriculture is a part of the solution, more so than the problem. Learning about carbon farming becoming an opportunity for a secondary income and practices that the majority of producers are already doing, such as culling to maintain a productive breeding herd, are already widely used and considered best practice. It really is only a matter of collecting the data to show that you’re already doing it.

“Filling the gaps of unknown knowledge for people looking in on the industry can prevent misunderstanding.” Milly Nolan representing The Livestock Collective explained how they have been promoting the industry for people through stories and virtual tours. I feel this group has portrayed to the general public a clear picture of the industry that we are all proud to work in. From this I gained the insight that we can share our own stories to help fill the knowledge gaps.

Through the Georgina Pastoral Future NTCA program we attended a Business Edge course. This course brought a topic that I found heavy and put it into bite sized pieces. The Business Edge course taught us to read and interpret a balance sheet and furthermore to implement strategies to help improve the financial situation. I found they explained and taught everything in a comprehensive manner which I really enjoyed.

Throughout the year I have also had the opportunity to go through a DISC course. This course has taught me a lot about myself. Through answering a quick survey it was able to put myself into a clear profile. From there, it highlighted a lot of different areas. I found a few areas to further develop these were my personal development and behavioural styles.

Media training is something I never would’ve seen myself doing. I was taught how to prepare and partake in an interview. James Lush taught us what makes a story; it’s all about the audience and how to stay on course. I think it will take some time for me to develop and successfully use these skills but I’m ready to give them a go. After learning this, I did find that it applied to more than just interviews and found that I could use these skills in conversations as well.

I am grateful to have been able to be a part of the Georgina Pastoral NTCA Future Leaders Program. The people I have met throughout the year have shared valuable knowledge and skills with me that I will hold onto. They have also been inspirational and provided direction. The industry exposure I have had through all sectors of the supply chain has been invaluable.

APPLY NOW for the 2023 Georgina Pastoral Future NTCA Program.

Important dates:

Monday, 9 January 2023 – Applications open
Tuesday, 31 January 2023 – Applications close
Wednesday, 1 February 2023 – Interview period commences
Friday, 10 February 2023 – Interview period concludes
Monday, 27 February 2023 – Successful candiates announced

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