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Grain fed beef producers open up gate for teachers

Smithfield Cattle Co. operate two grain fed beef producing properties in Queensland and hosted a networking event for a group of Wide Bay Agriculture Teachers in July 2021.

Celebrating 35 years of producing grain fed beef, Smithfield has had a long history of giving back to community. From humble beginnings of 120 head of cattle in 1986, to having two grain fed beef properties with a combined accredited capacity of 38,500 head of cattle, Smithfield remains a family run business.

Up to 35 Agricultural teachers and Agricultural assistants from approximately 20 schools across the Wide Bay region had the chance to visit their Smithfield Feedlot, to gain a first-hand insight into what is involved in running a cattle feedlot and why feedlots play an important role in the beef supply chain.

The Wide Bay Ag Teachers network hail from Bundaberg and Monto, west of Mundubbera, east of Kilcoy, and to Gympie and Noosa.

Smithfield, owned by the Shearer-Smith Family, has a long-standing partnership with Proston State School spanning decades, with three generations of the Shearer-Smith Family educated in Proston.

Smithfield Cattle Co. lot feeder and advocate for grain fed beef production, Barb Madden said the Family and business places a huge importance on connection with their local community.

“Almost two decades ago, we helped establish the Proston State School’s rural studies program, which has enabled students to study subjects directly related to the agriculture sector,” said Barb. “Smithfield sees providing students with an opportunity to learn more about agriculture and where their food comes as being very important.” “The partnership combines classroom learning with real industry experience and allows students to understand agriculture both in theory and in practice, which cements learning outcomes for the children.”

Katrina Hayward, Proston State School’s Ag Science Teacher, said “The visit is about giving practical business exposure to teachers, who for many will be seeing a feedlot for the first time. They want to gain an understanding of the business production systems, the skills required to work at a feedlot and career opportunities for school leavers”.

Barb, also a great contributor back to the feedlot sector (Barb was elected to the board of the Australian Lot Feeders’ Association, a voluntary position, in 2015) chairs the Feedlot Career Development and Training Committee, leading the way in promoting the unique career opportunities available in the feedlot sector through initiative such as these.

“We are excited to be showcasing our feedlot to promote the amazing career opportunities available to students within the feedlot industry,” Barb Said.

To understand more about what career opportunities are available for students and to access educational resources for teachers visit



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