Experienced food manager John McKillop has been appointed General Manager of Cattle and Cattle Operations of Gina Rinehart Hancock Agriculture and Kidman & Co.

He begins with a ‘soft start’ in his new role on Monday, but also plans to continue his current role in the industry as independent chairman of the Red Meat Advisory Board – a position he held at that time. last year, after the departure of Don Mackay. The CMCR presidency is normally a two-year role.

John McKillop

Mr McKillop’s appointment follows the abrupt departure of industry identity David Larkin from the role of CEO of Hancock in July.

Mr. McKillop has had a diverse career in the beef industry, spanning managerial positions in pastoral operations and land development for beef and mutton, beef export sales and program development. brand.

He spent an early part of his career as COO for Stanbroke Pastoral Co, before leading the export beef sales division of Elders, including brand pioneer Wagyu in the Japanese market. .

He later held managerial positions for overseas owners, most notably as Managing Director of Clyde Agriculture and Managing Director of Hassad Australia. He became independent chairman of RMAC in November of last year and sits on several boards of agribusiness companies ranging from innovative technology start-ups like Black Box to real estate service provider LAWD. Mr. McKillop will now be stepping down from his role on LAWD’s board of directors.

In a statement from Hancock, Mr McKillop said he had observed the rapid expansion of the Hancock / Kidman business, as well as the significant improvements in animal welfare and environmental management undertaken by the company.

“What has been achieved is truly exceptional. I look forward to working with a President and Boards of Directors who are focused on future growth, who are active in innovation and pursuing leading industry standards in employee safety and well-being. animal, ”he said.

Hancock and Kidman are currently realigning their real estate portfolios, with a series of Kimberley and Northern Territory stakes brought to market earlier this year.

At the same time, the company continues to expand its Wagyu breeding, seeding and feeding business in more temperate regions of Australia.

“The first agricultural enterprise in the country”

In the statement, the CEO of Hancock Garry Korté said McKillop had been tasked with making the company’s agricultural division the country’s leading agricultural enterprise.

“We’ve taken a head start in changing the culture of livestock care at Hancock, so all of our staff appreciate that ‘happy, healthy cattle are the best cattle,’” said Korte.

Shade for cattle at Innaminka station

Hancock had invested heavily in additional shade shelters in recent years, especially over waterers and adjacent areas, stockyards and calving pens. Other initiatives included making branding irons as small as possible and adding headrests and padding to weaning cradles.

“For staff safety, we have replaced wind turbines with solar boreholes and installed digital UHF stations and repeaters, so our staff have phone, SMS and email contact in almost all areas of our properties. In the process, we are building a communications network in an area similar in size to the South Island of New Zealand, ”Korte said.

The company was also actively researching electric and battery-powered vehicles, which are being tested on several properties.

“Currently, electric vehicles in our environment are even more expensive, but over time that can change. Given the early stage of hydrogen development with its many economic and safety issues to overcome, we are not yet testing hydrogen vehicles on our farms. “

Hancock / Kidman had installed a hybrid solar power system at one of its remote properties in Kimberley, following a competitive bidding process.

“Some commentators with no direct knowledge of our operations have suggested that the system is more expensive than necessary. This does not take into account the fact that, not being connected to the grid given its remote location, our system requires additional batteries to provide power at night when there is no sun or grid. to rely on, ”Korte said.

“It also does not take into account that a building is needed to properly protect electrical systems and does not consider that stations in the north can be shut down for long periods during the rainy season, requiring spare parts. adequate to ensure the continuity of Power. “

Another consideration was that solar panels have a finite lifespan, become less efficient over time, and ultimately need to be disposed of – creating an environmental waste management problem, as well as additional expense for new replacement solar panels.

“Our conclusion taking into account these and other relevant factors was that the cost of solar power in our remote operations is higher. If that cost could be reduced, we would clearly be willing to conduct another trial, given that our plan was to provide hybrid solar power to all of our stations and farms that cannot be connected to the grid. “

“While reviewers have provided generic costs for limited aspects of an installation, we would be happy to welcome them or anyone else providing genuine services capable of delivering reliable solar power equipment and installation, to a reduced cost. “

HPPL Group Executive Chairman Gina Rinehart said that for the agriculture industry to thrive, it needs an environment conducive to investment, not burdened by government costs and bureaucracy.

“I look forward to working with John McKillop to further improve our agricultural division, while also being aware of government policies that harm the entire industry and the businesses that depend on our agricultural industry,” he said. she declared.

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