Cattle producers will be able to join the Cattle Council of Australia as direct members from January 2014 after the council's board voted to formally adopt a new model for national grassfed cattle producer representation yesterday.
The new structure allows producers to join the organisation as direct members, which the council says will give all Australian cattle producers the opportunity provide input into national policy setting and to stand for election to its national board.
Under the changes to take effect in the new year, tthe board of Cattle Council will reduce from its current size of around 24 seats to 10 seats.
Each of the eight State Farm Organisations – AgForce, NSWFA, VFF, SAFF, TGFA, WAFF, PGA and NTCA – will appoint one director to the new board, filling eight of the 10 seats.
The remaining two seats will be filled by candidates who are popularly elected from the membership.
When the number of direct-paying members increases to 500, the number of popularly elected members of the board will increase to four members (with the entire number of seats on the board increasing from 10 to 12).
Cattle Council of Australia said the new structure was built on a foundation of considerable consultation with thousands of cattle producers, and will give every beef producer in Australia the chance to contribute to their peak council.
Either through being members of existing SFOs, or by paying an annual membership fee of $100+GST, Cattle Council says all producers can now engage with their peak body and have greater opportunity to provide input into the strategic direction of the industry and the expenditure of industry levies to deliver that strategy.
“All Australian beef producers can now be directly involved and contribute to the activities Cattle Council manages on their behalf," Cattle Council of Australia president Andrew Ogilvie said.
"We are encouraging all Australian beef producers to take the opportunity to become a direct member of Cattle Council and contribute to the cause.”
“Cattle Council is providing an opportunity for beef producers to engage and in doing so create the change they want to see. Join up, contribute, be part of the solution and help Cattle Council fight for a more profitable grassfed beef sector."
The new Constitution will not come into effect until the New Year; however, Cattle Council is welcoming expressions of interest from producers now. An ‘expression of interest’ form can be accessed on the Cattle Council website.
The Council said Direct Membership rights will allow producers to:
- Stand for the Cattle Council Board;
- Vote on Board elections;
- Communicate directly to Cattle Council on national policy issues;
- Receive regular updates from Cattle Council;
- Nominate to participate on Cattle Council policy sub-committees; and
- Receive members-only access to the soon-to-be launched Cattle Council interactive website.
Membership will be free for those producers already contributing to national representation through an SFO. For non-SFO members it will cost $100 + GST.
The council is calling on producers interested in becoming direct members to express their interest on its website.
The Cattle Council of Australia restructure process has not pleased everyone, with a number of groups believing the new board should not be weighted in favour of State Farm Organisation representation, and should be given control over industry funds generated by the $5 head transaction levy on the sale of grassfed cattle.
In early November new agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce annonuced he would ask the Senate to consider conducting an inquiry into the collection and disbursement of levies, which, if it proceeds, will see the restructure debate revisited in a Parliamentary forum.
Related article: New twists and turns in Cattle Council restructure debate