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Sonya Comiskey – 2018 Nuffield Scholar

Sonya Comiskey from Capella near Emerald in Queensland, receives a Nuffield Scholarship supported by Rabobank.

Sonya and her husband, Geoff run commercial Bazadais cross cattle alongside their French Bazadais stud, which boasts the world’s first homozygous polled purebred Bazadais bull.

They are part of a broader family business which includes more than 6,000 head run on 24,281 hectares across three properties in Central Queensland. Whilst currently engaged in strategic and succession planning, Sonya said their business is looking to develop a branded beef product based on heritage, provenance and sustainability in a move away from traditional commodity based trading.

Sonya’s study topic will investigate the use of effective branding to attract a premium based on the consumer’s perceived value of the product and its provenance as opposed to merely selling beef as a commodity.

She said there has been little support available for mid-size producers wanting to take a branded product to market and believes her study topic will take steps to address these knowledge gaps and help producers through this often complex and risky process.

“There is a growing appetite for producers to transition towards a more vertically integrated business, which is based on the principles of best practice, certification and innovation,” Sonya said.

“But in order to realise the full opportunities of ‘paddock to plate’ branding, producers need to understand the nuances of different markets – both domestically and abroad – and changing consumer trends.

“The Nuffield Scholarship opens up a significant opportunity to collate information and develop a framework which enables farmers to fully understand the pathways available in the beef value chain.”

Sonya will examine successful branding, co-operative models and innovation occurring in beef supply chains throughout North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy and, most notably, France.

Phone: 0438 876 729

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