President aims to improve ag image
IN HIS first week on the job as president of the AgForce Queensland cattle board, Will Wilson has pushed the controversial topic of preg-testing.
The stockman is urging producers to have their say by filling out a regulatory impact statement on non-professionals to be able to pregnancy test and do ovarian scanning on livestock.
The subject has been debated on both sides of the fence, with vets concerned cases of animal mistreatment could arise as well as other biosecurity risks.
However, Mr Wilson said they want to give the state’s graziers more options.
“We need to be doing everything we can to lift fertility,” he said. “For too long Queensland producers have been at a disadvantage to the rest of Australia where lay pregnancy testers are legally operating and have been for years.
“This is not about taking away business from vets or reducing standards.
“We will need people like vets to train the preg-testers; there is no evidence to suggest this has reduced their business.”
Working alongside the media to portray agriculture in a better light is another job high on his list.
“Now is the time for us to get united and one of my big goals is to work out ways we can work with other industry groups, so we can show the government we have the support of the people and of the people who aren’t on the boat,” he said.
“We can’t be seen as splintered, regardless if we carry a different flag.” The fourth-generation producer runs the Calliope Cattle Company alongside his wife Katie and their four children – Bella, Archie, Robbie and Angus. Their four properties have a total land area of 48,562 hectares, where they run jarrah reds and herefords.
The former vice-president of the board is also keen to work on ag-tech. Mr Wilson has experience in the field of technology himself. In 2012, he founded MANDRA, an IT company which specialises in digitalising and streamlining a collection of information about livestock, at both ends of the supply chain.
Mr Wilson developed an app called iHerd, a mobility-based system which enables producers to manage livestock in real time and capture data.
“I’m always interested in ways we can make the industry more sustainable and to paint a better picture for the public in general,” he said.
“I wanted to try and find lines of similar interests in the industry, so we could present product in an even and formatted fashion to consumers.
“I was early to the space, we had a lot of cattle under management around the world in a lot of up-take in places like the USA, but because of industry systems it was hard to pave a way for ag-tech.
“That’s what led me into getting involved with the industry, because I could see the need to present our product better in the market.”
With a strong will to push agriculture forward, Mr Wilson said he’s excited to do it alongside the new board.
“They’re a tremendous group of driven people who come all the way from up the gulf to the south-west,” he said. To have your say on laypersons preg-testing visit www.daf.qld.gov.au before December 14.
POSITIVE FUTURE: Cattleman Will Wilson is touching on big topics as the new president of the AgForce Queensland cattle board.