Meet Australian cattle & sheep farmers, discover 100 research projects and learn more about what is important to the sustainability of the industry

Smithfield Feedlot

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Our story...

The Smithfield Feedlot is a highly progressive, dynamic, inter-generational family business operating a number of agricultural enterprises, located in Proston, South East Queensland.   The Smithfield family pride themselves on proactive, cutting edge, global business thinking, whilst farming and living on a sustainable local level.
The Smithfield Group operates with a holistic approach to supply chain management of cattle through backgrounding, finishing, transportation and marketing.  The Smithfield Group is continuously working on ways to improve efficiencies, reduce wastage while maintaining strong community, environmental and animal welfare outcomes.
Central to the Groups operations is the Smithfield Feedlot, which ranks among the top tier of feedlots in Australia in both capacity (20,000 head) and turnover of 60,000 head annually.  

Our family’s list of other notable achievements include:
• Nuffield Scholar – Don Madden
• Australian Lot Feeders Association (ALFA) – Young Feedlotter of the Year award – Jason Shearer-Smith
• ALFA – Feedlot of the Year
• Woolworths Supplier of the Year Award Finalist
• RIRDC Queensland Rural Woman of the Year Award – Barb Madden
• Elanco National Grainfed Beef – Domestic MSA Winner
• Two Australian Rural Leadership Program Graduates – Jason and Barb
• Finalist – ALFA Innovation of the Year Award
Smithfield prides themselves on striving for excellence and maintaining high standards on three major levels; Environmental, Community and Financial sustainability.

Environmental Sustainability

1. Our strong connection with the land has evolved over our 75 years of family farming.  We feel a strong sense of belonging to our land and our community and recognise nurturing these two vital aspects, provide great benefits to our family and business.
2. Utilising Feedlot Waste as an Energy Resource.
Don Madden was awarded a Nuffield Scholarship in 2010, based on his research project around renewable energies and how the feedlot sector can utilise more effectively feedlot manure waste as an energy source.  For more information visit

1. Water Efficiencies – have been gained through researching and adopting improved water efficient methods on our cropping and livestock operations.
2. We are staunch supporters of the National Feedlot Accreditation Scheme, which is a voluntary 3rd party audited accreditation system, setting the highest standards for environmental management within the lotfeeding sector.

Community Sustainability

Being raised in a town of 300 people, our family understands the importance of recognising and supporting our local community.   We employ 40 full time staff injecting approximately $2,500,000 into the small rural town. 

Some of our community initiatives include:
• A Feedlot Indigenous Engagement Program – establishing a ‘paddock to plate’ style training program for young local indigenous men within the beef sector.
• Establishing a Rural Studies Unit at the Proston State School
• Fund Raising assistance to many community groups
• Men’s health group
• Feedlot Trainee Manager Program – a program we devised as a family, to encourage professional development of young men and women in the feedlot industry.

Financial Sustainability

Our Family business has a thorough understanding of our key profit drivers and we maintain detailed management and financial accounting records on a daily basis, to assist with identifying and driving efficiencies throughout the business.  We are involved in continual research and development programs, looking into new products and technologies in order to provide efficiency gains and reduce leakages within the supply chain.
Above all else, our family realises that it is our relationships with our staff, suppliers, customers, service providers and other family members, that is pivotal to maintaining financial sustainability and our overall success as a family in business.

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