Issue 18: Best Management Practice
Industry-developed Best Management Practice is the best way for the rural sector to demonstrate world-leading environment and animal welfare credentials, AgForce Queenslandsaid, as it called for Federal Government to support these key programs.
Grazing Best Management Practice schemes are in place for both the grains and grazing industries and provide a voluntary benchmarking system against which producers can monitor their business performance. For grazing, the benchmarking modules include soil health, grazing land management, property management and planning, animal health and welfare and animal production as well as human resource and business components. The modules are completed by graziers, are self-assessable and provide scope for continuous improvement in practices.
AgForce Chief Executive Officer, Charles Burke, said it was critical industry be able to prove its environmental and animal welfare credentials to consumers and through the supply chain. He said the support and adoption of Grazing and Grains BMP programs was an important step towards providing hard evidence the state’s cattle and grain producers are sustainable and progressive.
“Australian agriculture is a world leader in environmental performance in what is an extremely dynamic and difficult climate,” Mr Burke said.
“Grazing and Grains BMP programs are voluntary programs that help landholders benchmark their own practices, identify opportunities for continuous improvement and demonstrate their environmental and animal welfare standards.
“BMP programs are developed ‘by industry for industry’ and allow producers to identify the most profitable and sustainable management practices for their own businesses.”
Mr Burke said the best way to increase the adoption of best management practices is continued government support and investment in good RD&E, and industry initiatives to keep the industry striving to perform better.
Specifically, AgForce Queensland has called for:
- Ongoing investment by the Federal Government for industry to develop and implement Grazing BMP and continue to roll out Grains BMP;
- Reduce mandatory regulation and legislation and allow industry to benchmark their own practices and develop strategies to encourage all landholders to work towards industry best practice;
- Continued investment in research and development to help improve productivity, profitability and sustainability of Queensland’s agricultural industries.
Clermont district beef and grain producer, Peter Anderson, said the collective information collated through the BMP process was invaluable to providing evidence of high environmental and animal welfare performance.
“It’s a benchmarking look at your business and there will be productivity gains for it,” Mr Anderson said.
“However it also gives us information we desperately need to counteract some of the extreme views of the industry that are out there.”
Issue 17: Free Trade Agreements
The Australian beef sector stands to lose billions of dollars in export revenue and relinquish its position as one of the world’s leading international suppliers of beef if Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) are not urgently secured.
AgForce Queensland, along with other State Farming Organisations, Peak Councils and Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) has urged Government to finalise FTAs with both Korea and Japan. AgForce today renewed the call as part of the ’30 Issues, 30 Days’ campaign.
FTA negotiations with Japan and, particularly Korea, have stalled with the Australian beef sector positioned to be severely disadvantaged by this failure to reach agreement.
AgForce Cattle Board Director, Peter Hall, said FTAs must be finalised to ensure significant losses to the industry are avoided.
“As an export nation, we cannot afford to lose a major market and be at a severe disadvantage compared to the United States, which has already secured a FTA with Korea,’ he said.
“Korea would like to sign up to an agreement with us however within the agreement they want an Investor-state dispute settlement clause which our Federal Government won’t support and this has lead to a stalemate.”
AgForce Cattle President, Howard Smith, said the urgent finalisation of FTAs with Korea and Japan must be a priority of Government.
“Americas FTA will give it a considerable trade advantage over us and this is frightening given Korea is Australia’s third largest export market,” Mr Smith said.
“If we lose a major market like that, not only do we have the issue of the reduced volume of product going into the country but we also lose leverage and marketing power with other markets.”
“This is a critical issue for the beef industry and must be addressed by Government as a matter of priority if a strong beef sector is to be maintained.”
AgForce's 30 issues in 30 days campaign is designed to draw the attention of decision makers to 30 of the most important issues impacting on the rural sector as Australia moves towards a Federal Election. To learn more click here
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