Cattle Australia approaching first year AGM

James Nason, 22/09/2023

CATTLE Australia is approaching the end of its first full year of operation as Australia’s new peak representative body for the nation’s 40,000 plus grassfed cattle producers, and will soon start calling on producer support in the form of annual membership fees to help resource its advocacy efforts on their behalf.

A date has not yet been set but Cattle Australia will hold an annual general meeting in November.

Cattle Australia has inherited the same funding sources as the peak council it replaced last year, Cattle Council of Australia, which include dividends from the Red Meat Industry Fund, service-level agreements with red meat service providers such as Meat & Livestock Australia and annual membership fees from State Farm Organisations.

As part of a strategic reset that took place earlier this year, CA says it has also set funding goals that aim to diversify income beyond those sources in future to resource the work it does on behalf of producers across the country, with corporate sponsorship included in that strategy.

But it is also clear that with no access to funds from the proceeds of the mandatory $5 per head transaction levy, which is paid by every beef producer on each head of cattle they sell and which funds industry marketing and R&D work primarily through MLA, the strength of Cattle Australia’s “punch” in future will rest largely on how many producers support its work through membership fees.

Central Queensland cattle producer Adam Coffey, an inaugural director of Cattle Australia and currently serving as interim CEO following Luke Bowen’s recent decision to step down due to health reasons, said the organisation needs producer support to develop a powerful voice on their behalf.

“At the core of CA’s strategic reset is the recognition that we are the single biggest ag commodity in the country, therefore we aim to be the most powerful agricultural advocacy body,” he told Beef Central.

“We need producers to help build a representative body that is reflective of that so we can have a strong, dynamic, progressive organisation that is capable of delivering on all of our expectations.”

The fee structure for cattle producers to become members of the national peak industry council has been confirmed in a by-laws document published on the CA website last month.

Fees on a sliding scale from $110 to $16,500 per year including GST depending on scale of production will be payable for producers to become individual members of Cattle Australia from January 1 2024.

See full fee structure below:

To qualify as an individual member an individual must either:

– receive business income from cattle production;

– work or contribute transactions on which a cattle levy is imposed;

– have a connection to the entity who is the Levy Paying Grass-Fed Cattle Producer; or

– supply a member number from a curated group of grass fed cattle industries (the ‘curated group’ is currently listed in the by-laws as MLA, each SFO and the Australian Registered Cattle Breeders Association).

Non-producers or others interested in joining and supporting Cattle Australia can become associate members for an annual fee of $110 for individuals or $5500 for corporate associates.

Industry membership fees are set at a fixed rate of $27,500 for each of the seven State Farm Organisations (AgForce, NSW Farmers, Viv Farmers Federation, Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association, Livestock SA, Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association, WA Farmers and Pastoralists and Graziers Association of WA.

This was a decision of the Restructure Steering Committee in 2022 before the current constitution came into force, and reflects the fact that all SFOs get the same voice in the room, Cattle Australia has told Beef Central.

A fee of $2750 is also set for “other” industry members, examples of which could include regional representative groups, breed societies and other organisations that represent a section of the cattle production industry, which could include KPCA, AVA Cattle Vets Group or Australian Registered Cattle Breeders Association.

The number of votes allocated to individual members will range from 1 vote for a producer with less than 250 head to six votes for a producer with 10,000 or more head, and 12 votes for a corporate individual members.

The by-laws also provide more detail on how the Regional Consultative Committee will function.

The committee’s role will be to engage and consult with members at a “grass roots” level and to advise the Board on issues affecting the grassfed cattle industry.

The committee will be made up of one chair, appointed by the Board; along with one individual member or associate per sub-region, which will number 15 in total with more detail to come on defined areas boundaries at the time nominations are called, and one representative from each SFO that is an industry member of CA.

Nominations for these positions are expected to be called prior to the AGM* to be held in November.

Mr Coffey said membership of Cattle Australia will give producers the ability to directly influence how levies are invested, run for office, vote in elections, and contribute to shaping the industry’s future.

  • An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the RCC election will happen after the AGM. Beef Central now understands the election of the RCC will happen prior to the AGM. Further reports on that will be published as soon as more information is available to report.



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