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Herd That


Never has it been so important for an industry to lead from the front and keep the wheels turning.

Negotiating closed borders, live export boats and looking after three tiers of Territory business is top priority for the NT Cattlemen’s Association in the face of Territory and national shutdowns due to Covid-19. It is also timely that an initiative called HERDTHAT was recently launched and Territorians from Central Australia to the Top End got behind the largest community engagement campaign ever seen to connect consumers with producers and everyone who contributes.

Over the past 12 months there has been a lot of discussion about how we can better educate consumers, promote better policy and interact with the community and government. Each year more than $500 million in cattle is exported from the Territory. The NT cattle industry represent 40 per cent of Australia’s live exports and is Australia’s largest live exporting region. More importantly, 26 million Indonesians eat Northern Territory beef.

The associated Australian industries, including haulage, stock suppliers, mechanics, mustering companies, stock and station agents, and rural fencing contractors, is estimated to be worth more than $1.2 billion in the Northern Territory alone. Excuse the pun, but that is what is at steak here. The NT cattle industry directly and indirectly employs 10,000 people through the supply chain. The money and jobs flow into our communities and rural towns. This is done through vehicle purchases, accommodation, restaurants, retail, food and beverage, distance education and much, much more.

Campaign Edge Sprout was engaged to capture this through people and places. That took us on a 2500 kilometre road trip starting in Central Australia and ending seven days later in Batchelor. Over the week our crew of two and the client put in over 100 hours and produced enough content to create eight TVC, 12 months of digital material, thousands of images and epic drone capture. This article is largely a pictorial of the people and places we got to meet who wanted to throw their support behind the HerdThat campaign.

It was the kind of project that you pinch yourself doing. Even after 25 years in the business, I can honestly say this was one of my career highlights. Getting the opportunity to meet so many genuinely inspiring Territorians going about their normal business with so much commitment and passion is hard to put into words. Right now I know they are digging deep.

I was also hands-on and I managed many roles from creative director, producer, stills photographer, driver and drinks runner to fly guy. Steve, who was with me, had to look after video, data wrangling, drone, gear, director of photography, sound and lighting. Even the CEO of NTCA was holding lights, carrying gear and briefing talent in between holding regional branch meetings and executive business. The result is created with pure spirit.

When you meet the people behind the product it makes you realise just how important looking after the cattle industry is. Without wanting to preach to the converted, primary industries are a huge part of the Territory economy and unlike some of the resource sector, agriculture is staffed and supplied by a large Territory workforce that doesn’t fly home on the weekend. These are our people, Territorians, and the fabric of our community.

Key agricultural commodities of the Northern Territory include livestock, horticulture produce and fisheries. Cattle production is by far the largest component. Agricultural products constitute about 9 per cent of the Territory’s total exports by value and produced by what I call Tier Ones – the actual producers.

The NT cattle industry not only supplies us with protein products – feeds the business supply chain to tier two and tier three business who all exist due to the flow-on effect and product development. This is a TQ salute to you guys. Keep doing what you are doing and anyone who wants to wear your heart on their sleeve, get online and buy HerdThat branded gear to support the people who put food on your plate. TQ