Blog | Reading Time 2 minutes

Thomas Foods International Feedlot takes out the 2022 ALFA Community Heroes Award

Thomas Foods International Feedlot takes out the 2022 ALFA Community Heroes Award

Thomas Foods International Feedlot from the Murray and Mallee region of South Australia have been awarded the 2022 ALFA Community Heroes Award for their Rural Pathways program closing the city/county divide.

Sponsored by Lallemand Animal Nutrition, this award recognises and rewards those feedlots that are actively nourishing their local communities and environment by going above and beyond to support their community, that ‘give-back’ and better the environment around them.

The Thomas Foods Rural Pathways initiative was born out of a need to attract staff to fill exciting new opportunities at a thriving, expanding feedlot in the South.

Established in 2021, the program aimed to seek out young, enthusiastic people that were looking for an entry level opportunity in the agricultural industry, an untapped resource for both the feedlot and our rural entities. Urban school leavers with minimal experience were their primary target, believing that there are many young individuals based in the city that, if given the opportunity, would thrive in a rural setting and career. In turn, the program would create a strong foundation to gain experience in all areas of the Feedlot which would lead to a successful career with Thomas Foods and in turn, contributing to our local economy.

As one of the largest employers in Tintinara, the Thomas Foods Feedlot, is currently expanding from 17,000 to 30,000 head which will create a number of exciting employment opportunities in the community.

Attracting employees has become not only an industry challenge but an Australia wide problem which has required Thomas Foods International to think outside the square to employee staff. And so, the Rural Pathways Program was born.

Being located in a community with a small population and being the largest employer in the area, bringing new people to the area for employment is not a new challenge. Where this program is different is that we are attracting bright, enthusiastic, young individuals to the industry that would have never considered a career at a Feedlot.

The Rural Pathways program was implemented in 2021 with employees commencing in February 2022. They are currently advertising for their next cohort for 2023 and hope to replicate the program throughout other Thomas Foods entities.

In addition to the Rural Pathways Program, Thomas Foods have also been keen advocates and supporters of community based organisations such as camp draft and sporting club sponsorship, educational tours for local schools and universities, and building relationships with future breeders and handlers in the local agricultural community.

Published Dec 1, 2022