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Dr Charles Vaughan named 2024 Rabobank Young Beef Ambassador

Posted by Rabobank Australia on

07/05/2024

 

It’s a boundless energy that drives specialist cattle veterinarian Dr Charles Vaughan, his enthusiasm underpinned entirely by a genuine passion for the cattle industry.

And now, thanks to his commitment and leadership within the industry, Dr Vaughan, has been named the 2024 Rabobank Young Beef Ambassador at Beef 2024.

The award – which is presented every three years at the Beef Australia event, the nation’s largest beef expo – recognises young, forward-thinking and high-achieving people working in the beef sector.

Humbled by the accolade, Dr Vaughan said the inspiration behind his contribution is simply to help feed the developing world and “good, honest first principle advocacy – rather than activism - of best practice”.

“My tagline has always been that best practice equals best animal welfare and best economic return – which is in everyone’s best interest.”

While his intentions may seem simple, his impact is anything but.

 

A tireless contribution to the beef industry

At just 30-years-old, Dr Vaughan, of Darwin, Northern Territory is the operations coordinator and veterinarian for Australian Cattle Enterprises (ACE), as well as running his own business, Charles Vaughan Veterinary Services.

He spends his weeks zig-zagging across Australia and South East Asia, with much of his time dedicated to sourcing Australian cattle and working internationally with Indonesian, Vietnamese, Thai, Philippines, East and West Malaysia, and Brunei feedlots and livestock businesses.

“In the past year, the company has exported approximately 60,000 head of Australian cattle to South East Asian markets,” Dr Vaughan said.

“Through my role with ACE I’m involved in everything from selecting cattle that meet export specifications to handling the mountains of paperwork, organising stockmen, fodder, and veterinary kits on vessels, and physically loading the boat at the port.”

Supporting indigenous communities is also close to his heart, and he works closely with remote communities exporting feral-caught buffalo, as well as participating in companion animal desexing programs in indigenous communities in the Northern Territory that coexist with pastoral zones.

Over the past 24 months, ACE has exported close to 10,000 buffalo to trading partners in South-East Asia, and in doing so has provided opportunities for traditional owners and producers in the Northern Territory to connect with global markets eager to receive this quality protein offering.

Dr Vaughan was also heavily involved in protecting Australian agriculture from exotic animal disease incursions, where he developed biosecurity plans and assisted in FMD (foot and mouth disease) management in Indonesian feedlots during the 2022 outbreaks and also completed a self-directed volume of testing to ensure Australia’s freedom from Lumpy Skin Disease last year during trade disruptions.

Currently, he is assisting in the management, procurement, operational support, and logistics for ACE’s 18,000 head backgrounding program on the Northern Territory floodplains.

“This program focuses on the procurement of cattle during times of high supply and diminishing nutrition and staging them across three properties that give access to pastures allowing fattening in the northern dry season, before they go onto South East Asian feedlots,” he said.

His leadership and vision, which extend well beyond his own animal health business, are exemplified by his commitment to servicing the northern Australian pastoral and export sectors, as well as his role at ACE and biosecurity projects.

 

Dri Chales Vaughan & Mark Weissing

 

Well deserved recognition at Beef 2024

Presented with the 2024 Rabobank Young Beef Ambassador award in front of more than 700 guests at the Rabobank Beef Industry Awards Dinner at Beef 2024 in Rockhampton, Rabobank Australia CEO Mark Wiessing said Rabobank was proud to showcase and celebrate Dr Vaughan’s impressive contribution to the industry.

“Successfully managing the multiple roles across a large and geographically-challenging area shows how proactive and effective Charles is as a leader,” Mr Wiessing said. “And considering his impressive track record so far, it will be fascinating to witness his journey into the future.”

Recognising the important role and contribution of young, up-and-coming people in the beef industry, Mr Wiessing said Dr Vaughan was also fast becoming a strong industry advocate – in 2023 representing the Northern Territory Live Exporters Association in Vietnam at the Australian Beef Cattle Symposium.

This industry leadership, Mr Wiessing said, would be further boosted by receiving a scholarship – as part of Dr Vaughan’s Young Beef Ambassadorship – to attend the Rabobank Executive Development Program (EDP) – designed to develop the strategic planning mindset and commercial management skills of progressive primary producers and agricultural industry participants.

Growing up at Nathalia on the Murray River in northern Victoria with his father a mixed farmer and his mother an Animal Welfare officer, Dr Vaughan’s path was, perhaps, destined.

“Agriculture was pivotal throughout my childhood, and working on a station after I finished school strengthened my interest in the breeding of livestock and working dogs,” he explained.

His passion for wider protein production culminated in a Bachelor of Veterinary Science at Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, where weekends and holidays were spent snatching opportunities to contract muster or harvesting.

Reflective of his capacity to successfully integrate between projects, Dr Vaughan consistently sought out experiences across all industries and systems, from intensive cattle feeding in Alberta to extensive cattle grazing in the Gulf and Kimberly.

While Dr Vaughan’s pace would make many giddy, he thrives amongst the dynamic nature of agriculture, and even to this day, downtime is minimal, with wet seasons and leave often spent on secondment sailing for other exporters.  

And there’s still plenty of work to be done, with Dr Vaughan anticipating a very big future for the beef industry – particularly in northern Australia, “above the 26th parallel”.

“Beef production remains a vital trade in the ’top end’ of Australia and continues to encourage development in rural communities, boost income, create employment opportunities, increase export revenue and support economic growth,” he said.

“Northern Australian cattle producers supply an extensive range of markets, both export and domestic, and maintain a world-class reputation for being a superior, safe and reliable producer of high-quality Australian livestock.”

Dr Vaughan believes there’s still room for the Australian beef sector to improve though – either through efficiencies, welfare practices, nutrition and land management or consumer satisfaction.

“I would like to see continued conversations and promotion of industry best practice to ensure the best animal welfare outcomes and best economic return for all beef industry stakeholders,” he said.

“All stakeholders, from first-year ringers working on stations, through to Australian butchers and Vietnamese feedlot workers, should make it their duty to be animal advocates and focus on promoting the great story Australian beef production has to tell.”

Dr Vaughan said he felt immensely privileged to receive the Rabobank Young Beef Ambassador award, and was looking forward to the opportunities it would afford.