August 8, 2016
Smithfield Cattle Company celebrated its 30th birthday with a gala dinner at the 2016 Brisbane Exhibition on Saturday night.
Family patriarch Robert Smith began operating a feedlot at Proston on July 2, 1986.
Smithfield expanded quickly and now is licensed to carry a total of 18,000 cattle across its holdings.
Robert is still active in the business, and his four children – Jason, Andrew and Margot Shearer-Smith and Barb Madden – are working in different divisions, which makes Smithfield a successful family business.
Managing director Jason Shearer-Smith said he was proud of what Smithfield had achieved.
“We’re a strong family in charge of a really strong business,” he said.
But it hasn’t always been plain sailing.
The beef market crash of 1990 had a devastating impact on Smithfield, leaving the feedlot with just six head of cattle on feed.
When beef prices began to rise again, the feedlot continued its development.
A second beef market crash during 1996-97 led to another plummet in grain fed beef prices. This was another serious test for Smithfield, however the feedlot recovered quickly as soon as beef prices began to lift.
Between 1998 and 2000 all facets of the Smithfield Feedlot were expanded, with pen space, cattle numbers and employee numbers steadily increasing.
A major upgrade of the feed mill at Smithfield was undertaken in 2000, and in 2001 it began to steam flaking grain.
“I have a great sense of satisfaction when I reflect on what we have achieved over the years and an optimistic outlook as we chart a course for the expansion of Smithfield Cattle Company,” Jason said.
“It is nice to be able to take a moment to celebrate this milestone.
“When planning to celebrate our birthday we thought the Ekka was the perfect venue as it is a celebration of the Queensland lifestyle and a place to promote our state’s agricultural achievements.”
Three generations of family members attended the dinner, along with Smithfield employees, contractors, clients and business advisers.
They gathered in a corporate marquee overlooking the main show ring.