Meet Harry, the young cowboy in charge of 3000 cows
TEENAGER Harry Fitzgerald was always meant to be a cowboy.
It's been more than two years since the 17-year-old first set foot on the Brisbane Valley Protein Precinct at Coominya and, along with his mentor Laurie Beard, he's responsible for managing up to 3000 cattle a year.
He says he wouldn't have it any other way. "I started as a casual two and a half years ago with the chooks, not the beef," Harry said.
"I definitely wanted to go this way. I was extremely lucky to meet the owner and he took me on and gave me this opportunity." Harry is one of up to 20 people who work on the 1000-hectare property but he'll be one of a few hundred when a massive 10-year development plan goes ahead.
Stage one, including a quail farm, is expected to start exporting from September but there are another three stages of development to come.
"My standard of understanding of cattle and the industry and my skill set has grown so much," Harry said.
Harry and Laurie are a force to be reckoned with, the teenager taking every opportunity to learn from those in the business. It's an opportunity he hopes to be able to pass onto future generations when the expansion goes ahead.
"That would be awesome. It's an awesome place to be."
Livestock manager Laurie has been about the business since 2012, when co-director Duncan Brown started putting his food mecca vision on paper.
"It's good to be part of the company as it grows. Especially having Harry as such a young fella, he is the first person I have had to pass my knowledge and skills on to," Laurie said.
High standards for export
NOT a single quail will be exported from the region's newest produce export facility without Robyn Hall's tick of approval.
The Brisbane Valley Protein Precinct quality assurance manager is getting ready for her biggest challenge yet as the company ramps up to export 30,000 birds a week when it hits full production.
The Coominya plant is expected to be operational by September, exporting 1200 quail a week in the initial stages.
"It's a very important role because we have to specify to all the Australian standards and specify all the most customer requirements," Ms Hall (pictured) said.
Ms Hall is no stranger to the rural produce industry but admits her new role is something special.
"I've been employed in this area for quite a few years," she said.
"It's fantastic to be able to help get the business of the ground and make it a success. It's a great feeling."
I am most looking froward to be able to achieve the aims and the vision they have and to be able to go along on the ride. I wouldn't change it for anything.