What's The Beef Speakers

What the speakers will cover

What's The Beef 2023 speaker line-up includes geneticists, farm consultants, chefs and processors. Speakers will cover a range of topics such as

  1. How to use genetics to grow profit; 

  2. Nutrition and farm management for meat quality; 

  3. What processors are looking for to serve the overseas market and how farmers can accommodate that; and 

  4. Why the restaurant trade is looking for quality and consistency from red meat and how this works for them. 

Meet the speakers for What's The Beef 2023

Mark Ferguson

Mark Ferguson has a huge passion for genetics and innovation, he is the founder and CEO of neXtgen Agri, an innovation and consulting company. Mark, originally from the Victorian Mallee in Australia, now resides in Christchurch, New Zealand. With a background in livestock genetic research spanning 20 years, Mark holds a PhD in genetics and has dedicated his career to helping farmers implement effective genetic strategies to optimize their livestock.

Mark's expertise extends across Australia and New Zealand, with clients from various regions. Although he is most commonly associated with fine wool sheep, particularly Merinos, Mark's company provides genetic and data management support and advice to farmers of all breeds of sheep and cattle.

Mark is also the host of the Head Shepherd podcast, where he shares his insights and knowledge with fellow farmers and industry professionals.

His mission is to ensure that the industry is well-equipped to capitalize on opportunities for growth and success. Through his expertise in genetics and his innovative approach, Mark is a driving force in advancing the industry and helping farmers implement cutting-edge strategies for their livestock.

Dr Charlotte Westwood

Dr Charlotte Westwood’s area of expertise is ruminant nutrition and animal health, particularly the interactions between nutrition and reproductive performance, and the quality of meat and milk produced by ruminant species within different feed systems. Charlotte gained a PhD in cattle nutrition and reproduction from the University of Sydney in the late 1990s, since when she has worked as a farm consultant, with PGG Wrightson Seeds and on her own account, in both New Zealand and Australia. Charlotte now works as a veterinary nutritionist based with the PGG Wrightson Seeds team at Kimihia Research Centre at Lincoln.

Jake Phillips

Jake Phillips is the Extension Manager for Angus Australia, leading and developing programmes to assist the organisation’s members to help understand the various breeding support tools available that increase the profitability of the beef supply chain. Previously Jake has held senior roles in livestock procurement, processing, supply chain management, beef carcase grading and quality assurance. Jake has an obvious love and passion for beef from paddock to plate and has enjoyed much success outside of his career also as a regular beef cattle judge at Royal shows , also conducting a successful beef breeding enterprise in South Australia.

Phillips Cattle Company has an intensive focus on genetic selection, phenotype measuring, genomic testing, animal health and cattle welfare, emphasising thorough preparation of show and sale stock including slaughter cattle and stud bulls and females.

Amy Hoogenboom

Amy is Genetics Area Manager, Beef for Zoetis Genetics NZ, a ‘What’s the Beef’ sponsor that uses genomics to help farmers make more profitable breeding decisions, from selection, to mating, to marketing.

“As well as providing DNA testing services Zoetis seeks to educate farmers about the value of genetics. ‘What’s the Beef’ is an opportunity to put that into practice.

“Seeing a large group of people from multiple industry-leading bodies all working together to improve meat quality and the bottom line is inspiring for commercial farmers. Educating them, advocating to breed and produce better quality beef, is what the sector needs to take it forward.

“Bringing other related businesses on board, providing them a way to show where they sit in the supply chain and how they assist the farmer to increase returns will take ‘What’s the Beef’ to a new level. 

“Most farmers are practical people who learn through doing rather than listening. Having more hands-on workshops, enabling farmers to have those ‘light bulb’ moments and apply what is taught through the ‘What’s the Beef’ initiative, will add further value.

“Bringing all parties together to help improve the eating experience for consumers is an excellent objective, and one that we can achieve.”

Nancy Crawshaw

Nancy developed a passion for agriculture and genetics growing up on her parents’ sheep, beef, and Angus Stud property in Nuhaka, Northen Hawkes Bay, located on the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand. At University, Nancy pursued a career in agricultural science and discovered meat science through her study abroad program in America. Nancy enjoys learning about the role genetics/environment play to produce a high-quality product for the end consumer.


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