Beef 2021 Preview

Fearless livestock emissions crusader to address Beef 2021 gathering

Jon Condon, 25/01/2021

PROMINENT US animal scientist Frank Mitloehner has been confirmed as one of the keynote speakers during the industry symposium being held at Beef 2021 event in Rockhampton in May.

Prof Mitloehner has risen to prominence over the past three or four years as a fearless crusader explaining the relationship between livestock and climate change and dispelling many of the myths created about methane and carbon emissions by animal and climate activists with facts and science-based rebuttal.

Frank Mitloehner

He is a professor and air quality specialist in the Department of Animal Science at UC Davis in California. As such, he shares his knowledge and research, both within the US and across the world, with students, scientists, ranchers, policy-makers, and the public at large. He was recruited by UC Davis in 2002, to fill the university’s first-ever position focusing on the relationship between livestock and air quality.

Prof Mitloehner is also director of the CLEAR Centre, which is designed to bring clarity to the intersection of animal agriculture and the environment, helping the global community better understand the real environmental and human health impacts of livestock, so all people can make informed decisions about the foods they eat, while reducing environmental impacts.

Click here to read a recent Beef Central article quoting Prof Mitloehner in the emissions debate.

“Frank is committed to making a difference for generations to come. He is passionate about understanding and mitigating air emissions from livestock operations, as well as studying the implications of these emissions on the health of farm workers and neighbouring communities. In addition, he is focusing on the food production challenge that will become a global issue as the world’s population grows to nearly 10 billion by 2050,” his UC Davis profile says.

“Not only is animal agriculture not our biggest problem, but with decreasing methane scenarios as we see them, it may well be a significant part of the solution,” he said in a recent blog post.

“I have no beef with what you eat, whether that be a plant-based burger, one grown in a lab, or the old-fashioned kind from a cow – because that is your choice. I will continue to work to reduce the environmental impact of livestock for those who continue to choose to eat traditional meat. I will also always call out erroneous selling points hiding behind exaggerated climate justifications, because those I do have a beef with,” he said.

“I won’t tell you what to think, and I certainly won’t tell you what to eat. That’s a personal decision based on many factors. What I will do is present the latest, most accurate research we have on animal agriculture and air quality in regards to climate,” Prof Mitloehner says in his regular blog.

Click here to view one of his recent blog posts:

Prof Mitloehner holds a passion for the Australian cattle industry, having worked in research projects in Central and North Queensland early in his career, and is keen to revisit his old stamping ground during Beef 2021. At this stage it is his intention to attend the Rockhampton event in person, however contingency plans are in place if COVID restrictions do not allow that to occur.

Great foundation

Beef 2021 symposium and seminar committee chair Sarah Becker said securing a speaker of Professor Mitloehner’s standing on the important topic of livestock’s contribution to climate change would provide a great foundation to this year’s industry symposium and seminar program.

She said some important changes had been made to the Beef 2021 event’s conference program this year.

Firstly the industry symposium being staged on Monday, May 3 will shift from a full-day to a half-day format. Another change this year is that all seminars and conferences will be held in a single precinct, rather than being scattered more widely across the grounds.

Panel sessions will not be included in this year’s industry symposium format, allowing for a more condensed speaker program. A series of podcasts are being prepared which will profile some of this year’s Beef 2021 symposium key speakers, backgrounding the topics which they will address.

Ms Becker said the over-arching theme behind this year’s symposium and other industry seminars would be ‘Leadership, over the horizon.’

Broad range of topics in seminar program

In addition to the Monday industry symposium, the Beef 2021 event will play host to almost 30 other industry seminars on a wide range of relevant topics, over four days from Tuesday May 4 to Friday May 7. Dates, venues and full speaker lineups and topics are being finalised, and will be announced in coming days.

Hosts including Meat & Livestock Australia, the Queensland Government’s Department of Primary Industries and numerous other commercial and government entities will present broad ranging topics covering business management, animal welfare, genetics, farm safety, natural resources management and others. For the first time, moderators will be provided for each seminar to ensure the program remains in focus on each key chosen topic.

Busting industry ‘myths’ will be a central theme running through this year’s diverse seminars program, and this topic will be addressed in greater detail in a dedicated Leadership Forum event featuring representatives from across the industry sectors, including grassfed and grainfed beef production, live export, processing, trade and industry stewardship. Plenty of time will be provided during this forum for grassroots questions and answers from the floor.

A separate Beef 2021 International Committee is organising a seminar specifically focussing on international meat and livestock trade.

Beef Central will publish a summary of the Beef 2021 event’s full symposium and seminar program when it is released in coming days.

A host of other supporting events including industry breakfasts will also be staged during the week, featuring prominent industry stakeholder speakers. One of the first to announce their plans for Beef 2021 is rural legal advisors McCullough Robertson, whose traditional industry breakfast this year will be addressed by Paraway Pastoral Co’s Jock Whittle.

COVID challenges

Given the current COVID limitations applying across Australia and overseas, it is inevitable that there will be a strong ‘virtual’ component to many of this year’s seminars, bringing guest speakers in front of seminar room audiences via the web, committee chair Sarah Becker said.

“In a perfect world, we’d like to have all speakers present in person, but because we do have international speakers from a number of countries, we are building a ‘virtual’ platform to allow that to happen, as it needs to,” she said.

Online ‘virtual’ seminars have in fact been a part of the Rockhampton Beef Expo since 2012. Beef Central initiated and hosted the very first online industry virtual seminar held at the Beef 2012 event, featuring international guests Jason Strong (then MLA regional manager for Europe), Steve Kay, publisher of US Cattle Buyers Week in California, and marketing and consumer trends guru, the late David Thomason.





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  1. George wolff, 26/01/2021

    It’s comforting to see that scientists are finally understanding that the ruminant is a special animal. When you feed the ruminant properly the animal will take care of itself.

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