FARMER OF THE YEAR

Richard Wright's legacy is legendary

NEW SOUTH Wales cattleman, Richard Wright, has been named Farming Legend of the Year at the Kondinin Group and ABC Rural 2022 Australian Farmer of the Year Awards.

Staff writer
NSW cattleman, Richard Wright, has been named Farming Legend of the Year at the Kondinin Group and ABC Rural 2022 Australian Farmer of the Year Awards.

NSW cattleman, Richard Wright, has been named Farming Legend of the Year at the Kondinin Group and ABC Rural 2022 Australian Farmer of the Year Awards.

Involved in a multitude of roles - from cattleman through to past Vice President of the NSW Farmers' Association - Richard has played an integral part in the development of the Australian cattle industry.

The Wright family owned Jeogla Station in the northern tablelands of NSW, approximately 50 kilometres east of Armidale, from 1902 to 1998. Richard managed the 5650ha station for 30 years before it was sold.

During his time at Jeogla, Richard was involved in many initiatives. During 1984 Jeogla launched the first on-site physical cattle sale coupled with simultaneous video presentation in four states. Further innovation after this resulted in the Computer Aided Livestock Marketing (CALM) system.

"CALM was born out of the need to minimise costs and maximise returns, but it struggled to maintain full industry support. The catalyst that confirmed its future was the interface linkage with a live sale on Jeogla including comprehensive, accurate descriptions of the livestock in the saleyard setting thereby cementing the future of what is now known as Auctions Plus," Richard said.

"There are many cattle producers who remember being gathered around a computer screen interacting in sales around the country - an absolute game changer back in the 1980s!"

Jeogla was also one of the first properties in Australia to take up ‘Cattlecare', an on-farm quality assurance program developed to ensure domestic and export processors' and consumers' continuing confidence in Australia's beef quality and safety.

Richard was the inaugural chairman of the quality assurance concept. Jeogla was also the first cattle property to adopt the International ISO accreditation.

Ben White, General Manager of Research at Kondinin Group, said that Richard was a pioneer with an innovative outlook, and a strong desire to share his experience and learnings with those around him.

"Richard has taken on leadership roles within industry, including at NSW Farmers, National Farmers' Federation and the Cattle Council of Australia.

He helped establish what is now known as Auctions Plus, conducted the first trials on controlled oestrus (the forerunner to prostaglandin), discovered the critical necessity for selenium as a key trace element on the tablelands, learned how to pregnancy test cattle and has since taught many producers the skill, and was instrumental in importing ‘Simmental' blood into traditional Hereford cattle thereby increasing carcass yields by 20%," Ben said.

"His legacy is legendary."

Richard was part of a major legal precedent whereby farm assets must be sold at "fair market value", which was used as evidence in the 2018 Banking Royal Commission.

Even now that he is officially semi-retired, Richard still runs some trading cattle on a small farm in the Upper Hunter Valley and has helped establish a rural skills training course for indigenous Australians at Trelawney in Tamworth, NSW.

"Every day, things are changing and moving in our industry, and we have to adapt and progress with it, or risk being left behind," Richard said.

"We produce the best cattle in the world, and I am proud to have played a part in that heritage… and continue to play one in our future too."

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