The Australian Rural Leadership Program (ARLP) is run by the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation (ARLF) and provides an opportunity for leadership development using challenge-based and experiential learning.
Each year, ALFA and MLA award one scholarships to lot feeders to attend ARLP, an investment of $55,000 each. For more information on the program, the scholarship and to express your interest or apply for the program click here.
Simon Kensit of AAco’s Goonoo Feedlot, QLD, was awarded the grain fed beef industry scholarship for Course 30 of the ARLP and will share his experience on the program through regular updates as his course progresses.
Simon grew up on a family sheep and cattle property in southern NSW. He has worked throughout the red meat industry in differing locations and parts of the supply chain both in Australia and overseas.
He completed a Bachelor of Agriculture Science with Honours from the University of Sydney majoring in agronomy and animal production, and is currently working for AACo at Comet as the Goonoo Feedlot Manager.
He has a passion for animals, people and driving efficiencies both on-farm and throughout the food supply chain.
Session 1: Discovery and Awareness - 6-17 June 2023
By Kate Stark
Simon said the first session, which ran from June 6-17, brought together people from a range of different industries and backgrounds.
“It was a really diverse group of people with different backgrounds, so that was interesting and opened my eyes up to how different industries and people perceive problems and the world.”
The first day of the program saw the group travel to Sydney where they boarded a sailing ship - being taught the basics of sailing, including heights training and climbing up to the crows nest.
“For some people that was really confronting because you're on a moving boat, up high.”
The group of 30 participants then travelled to an undisclosed location in the Kangaroo Valley where they participated in a meeting with a local group of First Nations people.
“We had a very deep session which wasn’t physically challenging at all but it was all about connecting to the land and understanding Indigenous culture - so that was pretty cool.”
Simon said, overall, session one had been very mentally stimulating with individual participants challenged in their own way.
“There was quite a good balance of not overloading certain people. You were split up so you had to work with a very diverse team and you learnt how valuable it is having diversity in a team,” Simon said, adding the team of 10 he was assigned to quickly became a “united front”.
“The one thing that was really common throughout was that we only knew what was going to happen five to 12 hours in advance,” Simon said, adding the participants were encouraged to work together to process and work through uncertainties.
“You didn't know whether you had to pack food or a sleeping bag. When we were hiking, or canoeing, you just kind of had to be prepared because you didn't know what was next.”
Looking back on his experience, Simon said one of his biggest highlights was when his group ran out of time trying to return to camp during a hike. The group was forced to seek shelter overnight in a nearby cave.
“We were going back to our base …and we thought we needed to get back there, that it was critical that we hike through the night and get back.
“We had to stop, analyse the situation and, the more we thought about it, the more we realised how irrational we were being and that we could just bunker down until daylight,” he said.
“It was just our instinct to try and get home to safety. I think that's just a metaphor for how we feel sometimes in decision-making.”
Simon said he is now looking forward to heading to New Zealand in October as part of session two of the program.
Stay tuned to hear Simon’s next session update.
Session 2: Connection and Mobilisation - 17-26 October 2023
Session 3: Networks and Affiliation - 14-19 April 2024
Session 4: Impact and Influence - 3 -12 September 2024