Industry leaders join Award judging panel

04 July 2018


The Australian Lot Feeders’ Association (ALFA) is excited to announce two well-known and respected industry leaders will join the judging panel for the 2018 ALFA Young Lot Feeder of the Year (YLFY) Award, which is proudly sponsored by Performance Feeds.

The YLFY Award embodies passion, leadership, development and initiative and is designed to encourage emerging, dedicated employees to contribute their ideas and vision for lot feeding at a national level.

This year, ALFA welcomes two long-standing industry leaders to the judging panel, Geoff Cornford & Matt Luhrs, whom have both previously been named Young Lot Feeder of the Year in 2004 and 2009, respectively. Mr Cornford and Mr Luhrs will join a representative from Performance Feeds to complete the judging panel.

Mr Cornford joins the panel as an esteemed leader with many years of experience. He worked for The North Australian Pastoral Company for most of his career, commencing as a jackaroo at Marion Downs station and recently left the company after serving as Chief Operating Officer.

He managed Wainui Feedlot from the year 2000 to 2015 and led several expansions that saw the feedlot capacity increase from 7,000 head to 18,000 head, providing an annual turnoff capability of 65,000 head.

Mr Cornford lead an expansion of the company’s farming operations that saw the enterprise become one of the largest irrigation farming operations in south east Queensland. He is also an author of the Australian Cattle Welfare Standard, a member of the National Residue Survey committee and a graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Program and Harvard Business School.

For Mr Cornford, joining the judging panel is “a good way of giving back to an industry that has given me so much.”

When Mr Cornford won the Award in 2004, he took advantage of the main prize, being funding towards an overseas study trip.

“I was fortunate to use the study trip to learn about the non-operational aspects of the US beef industry, such as their industry representation, regulation and politics. This experience gave me insights and knowledge into international trade and how these factors affect our industry,” he said.

This year, the winner of the YLFY Award receives $5,000 funding towards an overseas study trip and a scholarship to attend the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation’s TRAIL course valued at $9,350.

Mr Luhrs joins the panel as a previous winner of the Award and understands what qualities make up a winner of the YLFY Award.

Mr Luhrs commenced his career with AMH in 1998 performing various roles in the farming operations at Beef City Feedlot. In 2003, he gained further broad experience in the feedlot industry after participating in the inaugural AMH Graduate program and held various operational roles throughout that time. In 2008, Matt was appointed Beef City Mill and Farm Supervisor before taking on the role of Feedlot Manager at Mungindi in 2009. Currently, Mr Luhrs is responsible for all Feedlot Operations, Financial Management and Management of the small but passionate team at Mungindi Feedlot. Before he took out the YLFY Award in 2009, he was a Finalist in 2005 and 2008.

For Mr Luhrs, he says winning and being a finalist in the Award over a number of years provided him with so many different opportunities.

“It provided me with great opportunities to not only challenge myself to look at the “bigger picture” industry issues but it also enabled interaction with industry leaders who were at the forefront of our industry.”

“Receiving the Award is a humbling experience when you reflect on the calibre of past recipients and the strong involvement they have had in shaping our industry,” he said.

When it comes to the qualities that the panel are looking for, Mr Luhrs said he was looking for someone with a diverse range of skills and experience.

“When thinking about attributes of current and future leaders of the feedlot industry, themes such as dynamic, compassionate, innovative and dedicated are widely displayed.”

“In line with this theme, an applicant who demonstrates passion, innovation, commitment to the industry and a commitment to personal growth who leads by example would be a worthy recipient of the Award,” Mr Luhrs said.

Mr Cornford and Mr Luhrs will bring their vast experience and leadership skills in the feedlot sector to the judging panel and the panel will ultimately determine the winner of the 2018 YLFY Award at ALFA’s BeefEx Conference, held in Brisbane on 8 – 10 October, 2018.

The ALFA Young Lot Feeder of the Year Award presents a tremendous opportunity for any young lot feeder keen to excel in their career and is exclusive to ALFA Feedlot Members.

Young lot feeders interested in entering the Award are encouraged to visit the ALFA Awards Page here to download an entry form. Entries close this Friday, 6 July 2018.