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Livestock Advisor Essentials

Launch of national program commencing 2023 

After a successful southern Livestock Advisor Essentials (LAE) pilot in 2021–22, MLA and Pinion Advisory are excited to announce the roll out of a nation-wide LAE program over five years (2023–27).

LAE is a professional development program designed for early career professionals involved in the livestock industry or advisors wishing to build their skills and expand their industry knowledge and networks.

Over the next five years, LAE will be delivered across three regions:

  • 2023 – northern Australia
  • 2024 – western Australia
  • 2025 – southern Australia
  • 2026 – northern Australia
  • 2027 – western Australia.

The first workshops will be delivered in northern Australia in 2023. Register for the northern program below:



This is an unbeatable opportunity to:

  • Learn the fundamentals of livestock businesses.
  • Develop knowledge, skills and confidence.
  • Connect with other livestock advisors.

The program will include three face-to-face workshops covering the livestock industry building-blocks of feedbase, business, reproduction and genetics, value chain and people and extension.

The workshops will be delivered by leading professionals in their field. Details for the first LAE northern program can be found below.

This program is $2750 (inc GST) for eight days of face-to-face delivery plus online webinars. Places are limited. Travel and accommodation expenses will be the responsibility of the attendee.




Feedbase decision making

20-21 June 2023

Townsville, QLD

Building blocks of business

1-2 August 2023

Rockhampton, QLD

Genetics and reproduction

3 August 2023

Rockhampton, QLD

Meating the market

31 October 2023

Brisbane, QLD

Influence, impact and extension

1-2 November 2023

Brisbane, QLD




LAE Northern Australia 2023 – about the workshop deliverers

Basil Doonan (Pinion Advisory), Tanisha Shields (Agrista) and Bob Shepherd (QDAF) delivered the Feedbase decision making two-day workshop in Townsville QLD, where participants gained knowledge and confidence in the key aspects of feedbase management to equip them to better support their producer clients.

Basil Doonan, Pinion Advisory

Basil Doonan has over 25 years of experience in farm business management, grazing management, training and consultancy. He has worked extensively in Australia and overseas in grazing industries, primarily consulting to farm business owners and managers and developing and delivering producer supported learning programs on topics such as pasture management, strategic planning, irrigation management and herd fertility.

Basil has a sound understanding of pasture and business management, soil and animal nutrition, animal husbandry and agronomy gained over his time in the agricultural industry. Basil has a Bachelor of Agricultural Economics and a Post Graduate Diploma in Farm Management.

Tanisha Shields, Agrista

Tanisha grew up on a mixed farm producing sheep and wheat in the Riverina near Corobimilla in NSW. Throughout high school she decided that a career in agriculture was for her. Whilst at university at Charles Sturt in Wagga Wagga, she developed a keen interest in livestock production, particularly in extensive landscapes. Upon completion of her degree, Tanisha worked as a pen rider at a feedlot, before commencing a livestock traineeship with Elders. Her passion for production in rangeland environments drew Tanisha back to Western NSW, where she was a Land Services Officer for Agriculture and then Senior Land Services Officer with Western Local Land Services, based at Balranald in NSW. Through her role with Local Land Services, Tanisha was involved in delivering advisory services to rangeland producers and developing and delivering training packages specific to rangeland environments.

Tanisha was a previous participant in the southern pilot of Livestock Advisor Essentials and from her time in the course was able to connect with John Francis of Agrista (also a LAE deliverer). Since meeting John at the southern LAE course, Tanisha now works at Agrista as a consultant. In her role with Agrista she is developing skills and a strong understanding of the key profit drivers in agricultural businesses, using farm performance assessment and comparative analysis.

Tanisha now has over six years’ experience working with rangeland producers and other industry bodies including MLA to deliver RD&E programs and to develop tools and resources. This includes her work with MLA and the NSW Department of Primary Industries to scope, develop and resource a Profitable Grazing Systems program specifically for rangelands livestock producers. Other programs she is accredited to deliver include the MLA Business Essentials PGS package, Lifetime Ewe (with three groups currently running in western NSW), and is training to be a Southern Business EDGE, Rangelands EDGE and Carbon EDGE deliverer.

Bob Shepherd, Department of Agriculture & Fisheries

Bob’s interests are in agricultural extension which commenced in 1976. Bob is passionate about the management of grazing lands, specifically paying attention to the basics which include: managing stocking rates, pasture budgeting, use of fire, sown pastures, wet season pasture spelling, location of fences and stock waters to improve land condition; woody weed and feral animal management, reclamation of severely degraded land, preventing and repairing erosion on access tracks and other linear features on grazing properties. He emphasises the importance of getting these basics right before fine-tuning or changing grazing management systems.

Bob has provided grazing land management and soil conservation training to many professionals that are new to the northern beef industry. He keenly worked with schools and students in north Queensland to lift the profile of the northern beef industry and highlight career opportunities in agriculture. Bob has worked with many industry/agency teams including the North Qld Beef Research Committee, Spyglass Beef Research Station Industry Advisory Committee and the Dalrymple Landcare Committee, to address a wide range of beef industry issues. He is the recipient of a DPI Client Service award, a North Australia Beef Research Council medal for extension and communication and was presented with the Individual Landcarer Award for Qld in 2017. Bob is also a member on the Australian Rangeland Society Council.

Building blocks of business

John Francis (Agrista) and Ian McLean (Bush Agribusiness) delivered the Building blocks of business two-day workshop in Rockhampton QLD, where participants were able to build confidence and skills in financial literacy, critical thinking and the ability to do simple cost-benefit analysis to support decision making.

John Francis, Agrista

John Francis is a farm business management consultant with over ten years’ experience in agricultural consultancy and a further fifteen years’ experience in production agriculture (agronomy). John holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (Agriculture) and a Certificate IV in workplace training and assessment.

John has a background in production agronomy and livestock production. John is a competent business manager and has a proven understanding of the drivers of profitability in agriculture. John works at a strategic and tactical level with corporate and family farm asset owners and managers to improve productivity and profitability. John is also involved in a number of livestock industry projects and farm benchmarking groups.

Ian McLean, Bush Agribusiness

Ian is the managing director of Bush AgriBusiness, a professional service firm to provide independent analysis and trusted insights to pastoral businesses across northern and regional Australia.

He grew up in the bush, doing primary school through the School of the Air before going to boarding school and then studying accounting at University.  He moved to the Northern Territory in the early 2000’s, initially doing station work, then working in an accounting firm. He then worked in training and extension with the NT DPI before moving to the NT Cattlemen’s Association, initially working in member services and project management and later as Executive Officer.

Ian’s special interest is understanding and improving pastoral business performance, from family-owned through to corporate scale. Ian holds a Master of Business Administration and is accredited as a Chartered Agriculturist by the Ag Institute of Australia.

Genetics and reproduction

Whitney Dollemore (Northern BreedAssist) delivered the Genetics and reproduction one-day workshop in Rockhampton QLD, where participants were able to improve their knowledge of the key principles of reproduction and genetics relevant for northern livestock businesses. This workshop also included insights into how advisors can support producer clients to make important decisions about breeding objectives, sire selection, reproduction cycle management and joining.

Whitney Dollemore – Northern BreedAssist

Whitney is a consultant based in Katherine in the NT, focussing on assisting in the practical implementation of genetic technology on farm to maximise profitability.

Whitney is the owner-manager of Northern BreedAssist, which assists the northern cattle industry with development of breeding objectives, genetic selection and research extension.

Prior to starting her own business, Whitney was a Pastoral Research Officer with the NT Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries, where she undertook research programs for the department in the fields of cattle reproduction, genetics and nutrition.

Whitney has experience with a number of MLA genetics and reproduction related packages and projects, and is a trained deliverer of Breeding EDGE, running groups in the NT and WA.

Meating the market

Elke Hocking will deliver the Meating the market one-day workshop in Brisbane QLD where participants will learn how to analyse customer feedback and assist their clients to identify and discuss possible on-farm solutions to compliance issues.

Elke Hocking – Elke Hocking Livestock Consulting

Elke is a private agricultural consultant based in the south-east of SA. Prior to commencing her consultancy business, Elke spent six years in beef research, seven years as a sheep industry consultant, and a lifetime of on-farm experience.

Elke holds a Bachelor and a Master of Agricultural Science and a Certificate IV in workplace training and assessment. She is passionate about producers being able to profitably and sustainably produce high yielding beef and lamb product that meets consumers’ expectations in terms of eating quality, nutrition and safety through the adoption of new technology, best practice production systems, value-based trading and a positive, professional approach to business.

Influence and impact

Jill Rigney (The Right Mind) will deliver the Influence and impact workshop in Brisbane QLD where participants will learn the fundamentals of human engagement, plus processes and frameworks for sustained influence.

Jill Rigney, The Right Mind

Jill specialises in the areas of capacity-building for businesses and individuals, specifically in the areas of leadership and performance. 

With an original background in administration, Jill now specialises in the areas of engagement, self-mastery, communications, conflict and negotiation.

Jill is a certified professional member of the Australian Human Resource Institute and a member of the Australian Institute of Training and Development.

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