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Simmental Life Member – Richard William Vincent

Simmental Life Member – Richard William Vincent awarded a member of the order of Australia – Queens Birthday Honours List.

Renowned cattleman and cattle industry figure, visit Dick Vincent was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) medal in the Queen’s Birthday Awards for distinguished service to the beef cattle industry on a state, more about national and international level including thoroughbred horse breeding and racing.

Mr Vincent played major roles in the introduction of Simmental cattle to Australia, the establishment of the National Beef Recording System in Australia, the introduction of Computer Aided Marketing of Livestock (CLASS) to Western Australia and the development of the Australian Registered Cattle Breeders Association.

Dick Vincent was a very early breeder of Simmental cattle in Australia and a leader in the establishment of the breed. He established the Hamelin Park stud at Williams, WA, which was a leading Simmental stud herd in Australia for more than a decade until it was dispersed to breeders in every mainland state in 1991.

Dick was on the Federal Council of the Australia Simmental Breeders Association with six terms as President and served for 18 years on the Western Australia Simmental Council with seven terms as president. He was also on the World Simmental Federation for 12 years serving as president for three years and is a life member of the Australian Simmental Breeders Association.

Dick Vincent was a member of the National Beef Recording Scheme (NBRS) Advisory Committee for a number of years in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. NBRS was in its formative years and benefited greatly from Dick’s practical advice on organisational structure and strategies.

Today the NBRS and its BREEDPLAN® genetic evaluation tool are accepted as world leaders. The technology developed is used in 15 countries which speaks for itself. Economists have put the net present value of BREEDPLAN to the Australian beef industry in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

In the early 1980’s the Agricultural Business Research Institute was involved in trialling the computer-aided sale by description of livestock. This was a ground-breaking project – it essentially offered eBay style marketing concepts 3 decades ago!

Mr. Vincent saw the trial system in operation and immediately took steps to have it introduced in Western Australia under the name CLASS. This gave WA livestock producers an opportunity to use this advanced technology for three years before the national scheme called CALM (now Auctions Plus) was introduced.

Given the huge distances involved in the supply chain of livestock products in WA, this technology has provided the opportunity to achieve economies in transport of livestock to abattoirs, better animal welfare outcomes and higher meat quality.

It was only through Mr Vincent’s sheer enthusiasm about new technology, his reputation for picking winning projects and his detailed knowledge of the agri-business environment in WA that this opportunity materialised.

The Australian Registered Cattle Breeders Association in ARCBA was formed in the early 1970’s to provide a national voice of breed associations in areas of common interest such as Government policy initiatives, disease control, showing standards and so on.

The concept was good but the execution poor. In 1979 Dick Vincent was elected as President and found that ARCBA had just 12 breeds as members, no money, no well-articulated program of activities and used the offices of one of its members as its headquarters to save money.

In the first two years of his term as president he increased membership to 35 breeds (essentially all those in the industry representing about 13000 registered breeders), increased membership fees so that the Association had adequate financial resources for an ambitious program, transferred the headquarters to the University of New England, appointed a breed-independent Executive Director (part time) and had the Constitution changed so that future Presidents would be distinguished breed-independent appointees.

Many of these changes were considered radical at the time but in hindsight they have proved to have been very wise and have added materially to industry organisation and wealth nationally. Post 1979, ARCBA is considered as an authoritative Peak-industry Council and has taken on many major projects for the cattle breeding industry including:

  • Managing the cattle imports through Cocos Island (thus giving the Australian industry a huge genetic boost)
  • Providing certification of live cattle exported for breeding (which provides a $100M+pa income boost to Australian breeders)
  • Negotiation with Government over compensation measures of registered herds that are quarantined due to animal disease,
  • Having a major voice on developments within the genomics industry,
  • Services such as breeder education, provision of statistics, financial benchmarking to help with better managerial decisions of member breeds.

The Australian Simmental Breeders Association congratulate him on this award and for being a major part of the Simmental breed and know he is honoured to receive such national recognition.