BEEF 2018: John Malone and Calvin Dunrobin have been major players in Blackfella Beef. To the right is a bull painted with traditional aboriginal artwork at the launch of the product concept.
BEEF 2018: John Malone and Calvin Dunrobin have been major players in Blackfella Beef. To the right is a bull painted with traditional aboriginal artwork at the launch of the product concept. Allan Reinikka ROK120518abeef3

BlackFella Beef set to transform the cattle industry

BLACKFELLA Beef is the name and producing livestock is the game for mates John Malone and Calvin Dunrobin.

The pair were talking over a few cold drinks one night when the conversation turned to beef production and indigenous representation within the industry.

Calvin, having worked on the land for the last 15 years, knew there was opportunity for Aboriginal people to cement their place within the agricultural industry.

The pair played with the idea of bringing Indigenous branded beef products to both the domestic and international market and decided to approach companies that would help them get the ball rolling.

The project is now in its feasibility stage with the product concept launching yesterday at Beef Australia 2018.

BlackFella Beef is a collaboration between the Western Kangoulu Indigenous Group, University of Southern Queensland (USQ) and Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) through the MLA Donor Company (MDC).

Under the concept, Indigenous groups will seek agricultural opportunities attached to native title negotiations to build a business structure to support the local community.

"Through this project, we aim to demonstrate a business model that could support sustainable Indigenous communities, employment, education and training outcomes,” John said.

"It also has the potential to enable future indigenous opportunities in the red meat sector and broader agricultural industries.”

Currently marketed as BlackFella Beef, John and Calvin want to be able to incorporate Indigenous language into the name down the track.

"We wanted to ensure that the average Australian understands the name and concept so we called it BlackFella Beef,” John said.

"We do have an Aboriginal name, Murri Yuri but we won't use that until people understand what BlackFella Beef is.

"Yuri means meat because we don't have a word for bull, we didn't have bulls back then,” Calvin laughed.

USQ Professor Alice Woodhead said the university would collaborate closely with the Western Kangoulu Indigenous Group, to coordinate the delivery of supply chain strategy, new product development and economic modelling.

"USQ will work with the group to establish the economics of Indigenous herd quality and quantity and the value proposition for indigenous branded beef products. This will build capacity in Indigenous communities to manage additional beef enterprises and understand supply chain and market access,” Ms Woodhead said.

Calvin and John said they were excited to see the project grow over time.

"We want it to go Australia-wide and go international but we have to wait and see and see what comes of this feasibility study,” they said.