Bryce Camm – 2014 Rabobank Emerging Leader Award

Posted by Rabobank Australia on


Five years ago, young Darling Downs beef producer Bryce Camm was managing a part of the family-owned enterprise, Camm Agricultural Group, now he is responsible for the entire operation  and overseeing ongoing expansion and efficiencies in the business.

When he won the 2014 Rabobank Emerging Leader Award in 2014, Mr Camm was in charge of the group’s Wonga Plains Feedlot – an operation that more than tripled in size to 10,000 head of cattle during his eight years at the helm.

He took on the role of CEO of Camm Agricultural Group three years ago, and is now heading up the expansion of the group’s entire cattle herd from its current 48,000 head, as well as spearheading a change in some of their land use to increase their cropping footprint which includes cotton, wheat, barley, chick peas and forage crops.

Mr Camm said the initial expansion of Wonga Plains Feedlot was due to good market demand at the time and, importantly, confidence from his family at the outset that it was a sustainable and sensible business decision.

That ongoing family confidence has helped him to push forward with more plans for property development and expansion of their carrying capacity.

“We now have licensing approval to expand our Wonga Plains Feedlot to 21,000 head, so we will be more than doubling our capacity there,” Mr Camm said.

“We will be doing that through a staged approach over the next eight years, and will start construction on some of that capacity later this year.”

The sale and leasing back of some of group’s northern breeding properties has also paved the way for further development of those properties.

“It allowed us to open up capital to expand the carrying capacity of those northern breeding assets,” Mr Camm explained.

“It’s a project that involves rolling out another 52 watering points. It has also involved starting to transition some of the land from cattle production to cropping, allowing us to grow some silage and forage crops up in the north so the business has resilience from climate variation.”

Mr Camm added that the family was still very much driven by the desire to continue to grow the business and be sustainable into the future.

For our family, and very much for my parents, it’s really been about harnessing a geographic spread of properties to try to  take advantage of seasonal changes and to follow the supply chain from breeding right through to a feedlot exit point,” he said.

“With that foundation, today we are focused on efficiencies in the business and the overall volume of cattle we transact through the business each year.

“We are really starting to ramp up the amount of cattle we turn through the business each year and we are on target to be selling in excess of 30,000 head a year within three years’ time.”

Describing his responsibilities as CEO as ‘long, many and varied’, Mr Camm said the key drivers for him at the moment are making the ultimate decisions around the group’s cattle, their breeding herd and how they manage their cattle along the supply chain.

With 40 staff employed by the business, he likes to lead by working with his team and ‘understanding what are the challenges that exist at various levels of working in an organisation’.

“I think I’ve always had a very grass roots leadership style. I know, in our own business, that being out there and still having dirt on your boots and being involved in the business across a number of levels, builds a certain camaraderie with your team. It allows them to understand the journey we are trying to take the whole business on,” Mr Camm added.

He believes that ‘further maturing in life experiences’ in the five years since winning the Rabobank Emerging Leader Award has helped to develop his leadership style.

“As a young person you are sometimes quite reluctant to go and knock on someone’s door or pick up the phone to pick their brains and learn from them,” he said.

“As you mature and mix in wider circles, you build the confidence to contact and learn from other people.”

And he credits winning the award with helping to widen that circle and build networks.

“The Awards night is really quite extraordinary – everyone who is anyone in regards to the Australian agriculture sector is in the room. I think being welcomed by that group of really esteemed people was the greatest value I got out of winning the award,” he said.

Mr Camm’s own interest in the agriculture sector goes well beyond his family business. Late last year, he took on the roles of President of the Australian Lot Feeders Association and Chairman of Beef Australia.

“I think it’s important, particularly when you are in a family business and in a rural setting, to be involved in organisations outside of your own,” he said.

“It teaches you about leadership, it teaches you about good governance and it opens your mind up to working with other people and other organisations.”

To find out more about the Rabobank Leadership and Emerging Leader Awards click here.