ICMJ in focus: Keely McGregor and Ryan Clark

The 2017 Intercollegiate Meat Judging (ICMJ) Competition is coming up next month, with WAFarmers once again supporting the contest through the sponsorship of the Murdoch University ICMJ team.

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine student Keely McGregor (22) opted to apply for the ICMJ team as it represented an aspect of the agricultural industry that she had not largely been exposed to, despite growing up in a small town.

“I only became actively involved in the industry when I came to Murdoch to study Veterinary Medicine and found that the industry, including the people and animals, revealed [in me] a real passion for agriculture,” she said.

“I am very interested in genetics and how manipulating these can help to grow the agriculture industry and meet the needs of the food industry.

“ICMJ will give me a different perspective on the livestock industry from the point of the consumers and what the industry standards should be, and I hope that I will be able to use this to help producers to meet these standards and make the most of their product.”

Ms McGregor, who is particularly looking forward to learning about veterinary career pathways in agriculture, said working with animals was fulfilling and that she recognised she could make a difference to businesses and the entire agricultural industry.

“I hope to focus my career around reproduction of production animals and be a part of promoting the advancing technologies and procedures that can increase reproduction and productivity,” she said.

“The new technologies and advancements that are happening in the agriculture industry give rise to so many great opportunities for young people who want to make a change. 

“There are so many ways that the agriculture industry can be enhanced through education and developing technology which young people who are willing to gain education can help to further.”

Similarly, fellow Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery student Ryan Clark (23) grew up in rural North Yorkshire, but had never directly experienced farm life until on placement through university.

“I’ve always been interested in agriculture and livestock management but I think it was extra-mural farm placements through university that really strengthened the desire to work in this industry,” Mr Clark said.

“For me ICMJ offers an unparalleled opportunity for networking within the agricultural industry, whilst at the same time giving opportunities to develop key skills that directly affect producer profitability. 

“Whilst you could say competing at ICMJ is not one hundred per cent relatable to my degree in Veterinary Medicine currently, I personally believe that if I’m to succeed as a rural and production veterinarian, any further understanding of production pathways – specifically in meat science – will help me relate to and better assist producers.

“Each ICMJ speaker has been selected because they are highly regarded within their respective fields and offer exposure to particular aspects of the industry we wouldn’t have otherwise.

“I’m obviously looking forward to hearing from Murdoch University ‘hero’ Dr David Pethick, but I’m also equally as interested in learning about transformational technologies from MLA.”

Mr Clark shared similar sentiments to Ms McGregor regarding changing the perceptions of veterinarians and their roles in agriculture, and how they can help to pursue greatness in the industry.

“I want to change how vets operate on farms and reinvigorate the value perception of what we offer as professionals,” Mr Clark said.

“I want to work towards becoming a vet that a producer sees value in involving throughout production.”

The Murdoch team, comprising of 10 students, will travel to Wagga Wagga in early July to represent their university, and will gain practical experience in the evaluation of carcasses, primals and retail cuts.

WAFarmers is sponsoring the Murdoch University ICMJ team alongside Harvey Beef, Linley Valley Pork, The Royal Agricultural Society of WA and the Murdoch University Veterinary Trust.

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