Member Profile: Tam Michalek

This month we caught up with member Tam Michalek.

Where are you based?
I am based in Gidgegannup WA. which is just northeast of Perth. On a farm where my husband and I run Black Angus and Speckle Park cattle, as well hay contracting and we are owner/operators of 2 livestock trucks.

Why are you a YLEN member?
I joined YLEN to build my connections within the industry, for a long-time young people within the industry didn’t have a group, or platform to connect with other young people doing similar jobs, and a lot of the time it was very isolating.

YLEN has brought the supply chain together and given me so many opportunities to discuss challenges, ideas and just have chat to people that get the complexity of live export.

Tell us about your connection to the agricultural industry.
My connection to agriculture started from a very young age in South Australia on my family farm. We ran a commercial Black Angus herd, prior to farming in SA my dad was a wool classer and ran shearing teams in QLD, NSW, VIC and SA, so we also dabbled in small numbers of sheep.

I remember spending all day bringing in the cattle for weaning, while my dad yelled for our kelpie dog, to finally get everything to the yards to find “Jedda” had made light work of the lamb chops and left us with bread and sauce for lunch, which was followed by half a day’s work down the drain after, the youngest in the family was left with the job to left the young calves back with their mothers, which she did, and did well. But unfortunately, she didn’t see the need to close any gates after so when the weaners were let into the larger pen, they just mooched their way to the larger cooler and back into the paddock where their mothers were also waiting for them…. I am the youngest.

I went to school at Lucindale Area School, which was known for its agricultural program, I learnt a lot here, both what to do and what not to do, and how to convince the new year 7 students it is definitely a good idea to get in the pig pen with a known slightly aggressive sow.

What do you do for an occupation?
My occupation consists of a few different things, all agriculture bases but just in different areas. I am an export licence holder with my business partner Chloe Grant, where we prepare and export livestock to the Middle East.

I also contract to other exporters that service the South East Asian market. Recently, I have been really fortunate to travel in-market and discharge the last 2 boats I have loaded from Australia. It a truly satisfying feeling preparing a consignment, getting it on the water and then being able to meet it in the final destination and what the livestock discharge and be distributed to the in-market supply chain. I also take this opportunity to provide any training that’s needed but also listen and learn from the importers about their tradition and their values so that I can keep working towards supplying them with the best suited livestock and products.

Live export is so much bigger than just livestock on boats and aircraft, being in-market gives me a real sense of pride, we are part of a supply chain that feeds the world, providing clean protein to families, its global animal welfare, job security, a connection to religion, community and land. It is also about people and their right to access fresh meat that meets their expectations and is affordable.

What excites you about the Young Livestock Exporters Network? 
YLEN has given me so many opportunities to improve my professional careers and generally I have built some very long last friendships through the alumni! Oh and I am a sucker for a good hat!

Tell us one interesting fact about you.
Fun fact about me, i was kicked by a Hereford steer many years ago so they are my least favourite cattle breed, been kicked by plenty since but Herefords still not on the favourite list.