PIRSA senior livestock consultant Bruce Hancock has been honoured for his significant contribution to the livestock industry.
At the Australian Society for Animal Production’s biennial conference in Wagga Wagga, NSW, last week, he was made a fellow of the society for his tireless commitment to developing the industry and mentoring the next generation.
Over his 38 year career with government, Mr Hancock, who is based at the University of Adelaide’s Roseworthy Campus and JS Davies Centre, has been involved in a wide range of projects.
Currently senior consultant with PIRSA’s Rural Solutions SA division, he has also been the Sheep CRC/Meat&Livestock Australia national lamb supply chain coordinator for the past decade.
Mr Hancock was also a driving force in the development of the SA Sheep Industry Blueprint, launched in 2016.
ASAP president and University of Adelaide School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences professor Phil Hynd says fellows are bestowed not only on scientists but also those delivering “good science” to animal production.
“Bruce has been outstanding keeping us on our toes and making sure the science is deliverable in practical terms,” he said.
“He is totally dedicated to his job for producers and a mentor for students and young people making sure they are networked to the key people within the industry.”
Mr Hancock, who grew up on a property in the South East, said he was “extremely humbled” to be recognised.
“I look at the list of others who have been made a fellow and wonder if I have done enough but I guess I have stayed the course,” he said.
He said he had been lucky to have worked across the whole value chain with seedstock and commercial producers, livestock agencies, processors, supermarkets and exporters,all who have opened their doors for industry collaboration, co-innovation and co-investment.
‘Some other industries could learn from lamb’s experiences with its diversity of markets with 50 per cent consumed overseas and 50pc domestically,” he said.
“Lamb’s genetic improvement programs have been second to none taking carcase weight from 18 to 23 kilograms, and in a couple of decades we have seen the price go from $1.20/kg to more than $7/kg.”
Mr Hancock said the industry progress was far from over and was looking forward to helping roll out objective measurement technology like Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry imagery and intramuscular fat probes.
These are set to change the way producers are paid.
“For the past two and a half decades the industry has paid on weight and fat specifications but now we will have additional tools to reward lean meat yield and eating quality,” he said.
Mr Hancock said he had particularly enjoyed his career involvement with young people, including the LambEx Young Guns and MLA’s Livestock Consultant internship program.
“It has been about paying it forward,” he said.
“I had some great mentors early in my career and so it has been great to see other young people develop whether they be industry professionals, livestock leaders or part of the grunt and grind of the industry.”