“Modern farming is the frontline of action for future food security and climate change”
By Chantelle Kerwin
A little over 12 months ago The Livestock Collective embarked on a journey to build the capacity of livestock advocates to be the voice of the industry. The Livestock Leaders program was created and the first 16 influencers and leaders graduated to become spokespeople for the community. The project has come a long way since it began, now with over a hundred alumni from all over Australia and various parts of the agricultural supply chain.
Each of the leaders has progressed in their own ways, many skyrocketing straight to television, radio and print in a matter of months. We sat down for a yarn with Fiona Aveyard, one of our New South Wales alumni to talk about how her own journey in the red meat industry led to the creation of Outback Lamb, which emphasises the importance of connecting you with your food.
The Williamson and Aveyard families have been living on the land for the past five generations. Fiona (née Williamson) and her husband Bill, along with their four children, run a mixed farming operation including meat, wool and cropping at their station ‘Westpoint.’
When asked about what life was like growing up on the land Fiona explained that she was never discouraged from choosing farming as her career in agriculture, and certainly never felt held back as a woman.
“My parents treated all of our siblings the same, regardless of their sex. Both my sister and I had a natural affinity with livestock and I don’t think anyone thought for a second that we wouldn’t be suited to a life on the land.” With such a solid foundation growing up, Fiona, now an accomplished woman in her own right, is one of the thriving Livestock Leader alumni.
In addition to the family farming operations at ‘Westpoint’, Outback Lamb has been her real passion project. It celebrates local produce and knowing your farmer. Producing lamb sausage rolls from their own single-origin, pasture-raised lamb. This important business value-add fits the vision of where Fiona thinks food production is headed.
“Consumers’ eating habits have changed drastically over the years. As the consumer becomes more conscious about their food choices, moving to support ethically produced meat will become a favourable option for many. Outback Lamb is leading the way and moving with the changing market” said Fiona.
“Innovation and a visionary outlook are vitally important. Australian farming is on the crest of a wave in terms of the significant role we will play in the future. Not just in our ability to feed a growing world population, but also to have a meaningful impact on climate change. We cannot underestimate the importance and the value of our industry’s social licence, particularly as consumers increasingly use their voices to dictate change. Australian farmers are early adopters of technology, but our next step is connecting in a meaningful way with our customers.” Fiona believes that recognising these key changes will be pivotal to the continuation of the industry.
The qualities of a good leader are subjective to the industry and tasks at hand. Fiona says her leadership style reflects her role on the farm and as a budding entrepreneur where her strengths lie in strategy and effective planning to ensure the long term success of the business.
As a proud Livestock Leader, completing the workshop opened doors for new opportunities and experiences. “The red meat industry is a relatively small community, so it was great to meet new people specialising in different fields, as well as to extend my networks into other states”. Fiona went on to say, “there are some pretty incredible people doing some amazing things, the best thing about Livestock Leaders is it puts us all in the same room.”
What began as a slightly profitable side hustle has scaled up to the point where the project is now poised to enter the retail market. Collaborating with master pastry chef Christopher Thé, the launch for their lamb sausage rolls is scheduled for early September at the Sydney Fine Food Expo.
We expect to see more of Fiona as she continues on her entrepreneurial journey, and it’s clear to see that Outback Lamb is here to stay.
Follow Fiona and her family on all social media platforms to keep up to date with any announcements.
Outback Lamb – Facebook
Outback Lamb – Instagram
Outback Lamb – Twitter
Fiona Aveyard – LinkedIn
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If you want to become a Livestock Leader, submit your expression of interest!