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Henry Burke elected as new president of Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association


Cattle industry veteran Henry Burke has been elected as the new president of the NT Cattlemen's Association (NTCA).

At the association's 40th annual conference being held in Alice Springs, Mr Burke was endorsed by NTCA members to take over the role from David Connolly who has completed his three-year term.

In his first interview as president, Mr Burke told ABC Landline that he put his hand up "for something he is passionate about".

Respected cattleman

Mr Burke is the general manager for Consolidated Pastoral Company (CPC), but prior to that, spent more than three decades working for Australian Agricultural Company (AACo).

Mr Burke got his start in the northern cattle industry as a ringer in Queensland's gulf country in 1980.

He worked his way through to manager of AACo's sprawling Brunette Downs Station on the Barkly Tablelands and on to general manager of the company's northern properties.

"I’ve been involved in the NTCA for a long time and seen it grow from a small industry group in the distant north, to now being one of the leading voices for agriculture in Australia," he said.

"It’s a privilege to take on this position after having seen David’s enormous contribution over the past three years. I’m proud to step into his shoes and to continue the work."

Challenges ahead

Mr Burke said the NT's cattle industry faced a number of issues, including recovery from major bushfires last year and now flooding, which had damaged a number of important beef roads.

"We've also got the ongoing live export class action and also regulations on live export which we need decisions on to move forward."  

He said the NT's cattle industry now had a cotton gin near Katherine and it was up to stations to make the most of the opportunity to source locally-produced cotton seed.

"It's something we need to develop and use it, because we're not used to using it [cotton seed] up here," he said.

"It's certainly got good protein and learning to use it and get the best productivity from it, is what we need to work on over the next 12 months."


Advice for young ringers?

After more than 40 years working in the beef industry — from ringer, to station manager, general manager and now president of the NTCA — ABC Landline asked Mr Burke for his advice to those younger looking to forge a career in the NT's cattle industry.

"I think one of the things I've noticed is that the kids who come up and have a go, explore their options, love animals, are conscientious, show resilience in their character, and want to get out of bed and go to work... they're the ones that seem to stick to the industry and keep coming back and do well," he said.

"So work hard, enjoy what you do, and make sure you're challenged by what you're doing."

Taken from ABC News on March 21, 2024

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