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Four cattle leaders tackle three key questions: AgForce Webinar

James Nason, 07/10/2020

An AgForce webinar last night put three pressing questions to four cattle industry representatives, producing some frank insights and exchanges on issues including market access, producer participation in industry affairs, how the industry should deal with mistruths, and why kilograms of beef consumed per capita should be treated as the critical measure to demonstrate industry success.

Each question and the responses given from each presented are included below, edited slightly in places for length and clarity.

Question 1: 

WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU WOULD LIKE TO CHANGE IN THE INDUSTRY IMMEDIATELY?

David Hill, CQ producer and outgoing independent northern director for Cattle Council of Australia

– ‘Industry shooting itself in foot with self-imposed trade barriers’

In my first meeting I attended (as the inaugural northern independent director) with Cattle Council of Australia in Melbourne (six years ago), a lot of it was taken up with non-tariff trade barriers.

One of the greatest frustrations I have are the self-imposed trade barriers we put in front ourselves.

Every time we impose a regulatory burden that goes over and above what our competitor countries are doing we must ensure it gives us an access-advantage or a price-advantage, otherwise we have to have a serious look at what we’re doing.

One of the ones that is currently on the radar for ourselves as beef representatives as a peak industry council is the EU FTA and UK FTA.

Anyone that has got anything to do with these markets will understand that how we currently access those market as producers is through EUCAS (the European Union Cattle Accreditation Scheme).

EUCAS was put in place 20-odd years ago prior to us having a national traceability system

So myself and quite a few other people consider that EUCAS is somewhat past its use by date.

We have a national traceability scheme, which is part of the importing country requirements, the other one is HGP freedom, so we have two permanent markers in this industry, as producers for the use of HGPs in a triangle ear punch and the silver bullet.

The whole idea that we have to put a regulatory burden as we have with EUCAS upon ourselves which gives us no great advantage, because the countries that we’re competing against at a producer level do not put a lot of these burdens upon their own producers.

So for myself and those that are in the network that I am part of, this is just one example of how this industry continually, I believe, shoots ourselves in the foot.

We have high bar negotiators that are, there are some of them basically consider that they are working for the importing country, not for us. So I think it is way past the time that we start to consider in our free trade agreements that equivalency and things like that are more important than the high bar negotiators setting a bar for ourselves that comes with a regulatory burden and does not give us any advantage as access goes.

We have lost access basically in the EU grainfed market, and to this day no one can give me a decent explanation of how that happened.

So for me that is the thing that I would change today in how we deal with market access and the self-imposed regulatory burdens.

Bryce Camm, Australian Lot Feeders Association president and Qld cattle producer

– Challenging the strategy of the Integrity Systems Company

– Time to finally “close the loop”: ‘We still as an industry continue to kid ourselves that it is voluntary to be a member of LPA’

Like anyone in agriculture I looked at that question and was like, well I’d like about 2 inches of rainfall, I’d like the Aussie dollar to be at 60c, and I’d like the price of feed barley to be about $180 a tonne.

But I think Sara (webinar organiser Sara Cue from AgForce) wanted something a little bit more serious and I do like where David was going on free and liberalised global markets for our beef, I think that is vital and it is imperative that all of us continue to fight actively for that.

But my one response tonight that is something I have been working on and the ALFA organisation has been working on is continuing to challenge the strategy of our integrity systems company over the next five years, and the ISC report on the 2025 strategy.

And that is not to throw stones at the process or anything like that, but simply to put on the floor our issues with the direction of ISC currently.

Unfortunately that strategy involves a budget of just shy of $75 million of investment – that is a 46 percent increase on its current budgets or previous budgets.

I guess our feelings particularly at ALFA is that the runs are just not on the board.

We have spent some six years and some six million bucks and we have finally got an electronic eNVD system, but it has still got flaws in it.

My feedlot operation here at Dalby, we use that form and that process every day, multiple times a day, and it still, the template doesn’t autofill properly. And I guess someone relatively young in the population of beef producers like myself is finding frustrations with that, I guarantee the average cockie across this country is given up in hope to even use it and engage in the system.

I think our biggest frustration with it is that technology and the investment in technology is being seen as the panacea for solving what is a crucial issue for our industry, and that is the reliance, the reliability, the faith, the trust, we all have in our integrity systems.

And to pick up on what David’s point earlier around our EUCAS system, we really do have the world’s best integrity systems, but anything needs continual improvement and we wholeheartedly support that.

But I think what is really crucial at the moment is that we haven’t got those fundamentals right.

The culture across our sector and understanding the importance of those documents is not there and it is not being invested in on a communications front across our sector.

And I think finally I guess is the part of finally closing the loop on our integrity systems. We still as an industry continue to kid ourselves that it is voluntary to be a member of LPA.

Well I say in 2020 good luck selling a beast anywhere that is not verified by LPA. And we should be brave enough and strong enough after our investment in this to say it is a compulsory system, that this industry across our entire supply chain believes, and then we could finally start to use that as a verified document in our export order legislation and help assist in bringing some of the trade barriers down, and really around the EUCAS system in particular.

That is the one thing I would like to work on and change immediately.

Mark Davie, CQ producer and AgForce Cattle Board director

– “We need a strong, united, well-funded voice”

– Splinter groups need to get back in the boat

– “CCA is the strongest boat we have, bring our bags of rocks, throw them at each other, blow the sides out until it forms a shape that best serves us” 

What is the thing would I would like to change to change in the industry immediately?

I think we need to change.

I think we need to get over our differences and we need to challenge ourselves to create grassfed representative bodies that the industry is deserving of.

We need a strong, united, well-funded voice to pursue the interests of the industry on behalf of grassfed producers.

And what I am talking about here is a restructure of the Cattle Council of Australia that is currently underway.

We need splinter groups who have important things to say to come back into the boat, because they will be critical to ensuring that we have the best body and we need their participation.

Splinter groups by definition have left the group because they no longer feel it is representative of them, and in doing that process they have made us all weaker and created an alternative voice to Government, which make them less accountable.

And that is why it is important that we come together as an industry to pursue and formulate a structure that we can take together to the minister rather than separately.

 Currently CCA is the strongest boat we have, so we all need to get in it, bring our bags of rocks, throw them at each other and blow the sides out until it forms a shape that best serves us.

And everything is up for debate in this process, even the name.

What are the critical points in any industry structure?

For me we cannot be a committee under NFF.  You cannot represent everything or you will stand for nothing.

Queensland must maintain representation equivalent to its position in the national herd.

I have been on zoom conferences where southern producers have openly campaigned against the interests of the live export industry.

Together as a united voice we can best pursue our goals.

We can need a large policy board which best represents the diverse geographies, production systems and markets of our industry.

The AgForce cattle board has 16 board members, we have don’t have to make the fastest decision, but we have to make the right decision for our members.

With the greatest respect to the Federal Government, they are the counter party in our funding agreement, it suits them to not have a strong unified single voice on the other side of the table, so we need the voice that best represents producers.

And we need to an industry body that will be represent producers of all sizes, from small producers to large corporates.

At the moment some corporate groups are pulling out of industry associations, because they feel they have doors open to them in Canberra when they can pursue their policy interests.

Nobody represents more than 2pc of the herd. So we need a body that makes all sizes of producers feel like they are represented, so they can participate, because if we have a single united voice, the Government has no excuses other than to pursue what is in the best of our interests.

And most importantly I think if you don’t agree with any of these things, you need to pay your fees, you need to hop the boat, and you need to help us to improve the industry, so that we can advance it for the next 20 years with the structure that it deserves.

Russell Lethbridge, NQ producer and MLA director

– “Great benefits come with unity”

My wish is certainly along the same lines as David’s, after 10 years of being an industry representative, firstly with AgForce for seven years and then more recently with MLA, I would dearly love to see a united industry where we were all reading off the same sheet, the same page at all ties.

We absolutely need strong well-resourced representative bodies both at state level and at national level, and this can only happen with  absolute unity and participation and memberships.

None of us should forget that the result recently with the class action was only possible because of the contribution of State Farming Organisation memberships to win that class action to do with the live export trade shut down.

At this point in time we have less than 50pc contribution to participation in these organisations.

Some great things come with unity, we can seek out and take advantage of all the issues this wonderful industry can provide us.

I would be the first to accept that we may not have the best structures in place right now, but let’s fix them. And let’s fix them from the inside.

I don’t care if you are Tony Hegarty from Central NSW, Lloyd Hick from Camooweal or Georgie Somerset from the Burnett, every single one of those people get out of bed every morning and do something good for the industry. They have no other intention in their lives.

So we need to get behind these people and get in there, they give up their precious time, it is not because they don’t have something better to do, it is because they think it is worthwhile to move this industry forward.

So I would just like to see the entire industry get behind it, and of course you need reform and restructure as we move on

MLA has been in place for 20 years now, it is a dynamic industry, I have got no doubt that many of the structures need reform, so I would just encourage everybody to jump inside and let’s help fix it from the inside, rather than from the outside slinging rocks at each other.

After 10 years as a representative of the industry, I feel very, very strongly along those lines.

Question 2

HOW DO WE COMBAT THE MISTRUTHS?

David Hill

– “If you want to combat mistruths, start with a positive story about our industry”

My idea about truth, well whose truth are we talking about here? One of the things I have been frustrated about, I read an article and in it was claimed that the more that industry perpetuates an image of “stale, pale blue shirt and hat wearing angry men, the more damage it will do”.

I am not much of a marketer, but I have spent some time with a company that is quite good at marketing.

I don’t have a pale blue shirt (in the picture) but the stale person, the family farmer, everyone has unfortunately seen the one they were playing after the football tries, it was entertaining for the first few texts, I got some quite entertaining ones.

So my involvement involvement with McDonald’s started in 2015 and it was all around the opportunity to talk to their global sustainability people about sustainability and deforestation.

So as far as the message goes for me, it has been clear from us, and I wasn’t the only one, that we talked about the fact that when the Veg Management Act came in in 1999, as beef producers we have agricultural land for grazing purposes, we have not been able to clear any remnant vegetation since that time for the purposes of beef production, we’re not considered to be high value ag.

I get very, very annoyed and angry when I hear that Queensland is a tree clearing hot spot and those types of things. We haven’t been able to clear it legally since 1999.

And that was the whole point of what we were talking about, that has been a simple message that myself and others have taken to McDonald’s, but unfortunately we haven’t got anywhere.

I have recently read an industry document that came across my table and included in it was that “the weakening of vegetation clearing legislation in Queensland has resulted in a tripling of clearing rates in that State in 2013-14 compared to 2009-10″.

So that came from someone that our levies employed. That type of thing, putting that message out there, was why I am a pale, angry person at the moment.

The type of things that I would like to see put out there – the scientists that are showing that ruminant agriculture makes an extraordinarily positive environmental contribution, scientists talking about the need for millions of more animals to avert climate change, and demonstrating that cattle have an enormous role to play in reducing emissions, and providing food from 70 percent of the world’s agricultural land that is not arable and cannot grow human food.

So that too me is the positive story that we should have out there, so if you are looking to combat mistruths, start with a positive story about our industry.

There is the other point of possibly going and buying renewable energy credits from some foreign country to put the carbon neutral claim on a carton of beef.

I would encourage anyone who is out there, if you ever have an opportunity to combat a mistruth, don’t hold back.

Bryce Camm

– ‘Those throwing stones at us are never going to be our friends’

I do tend to agree with David and a positive story is always good, but, what what really strikes me about this, because I feel we have been talking about this for eons in agriculture is those against us and selling a positive message about what we do and I think a lot of good work has been done in that space.

But I kind of think this is something not just relating to the beef industry or agriculture in this nation or around the world more generally, this is the time of Trump, you only have to watch what is going on in the US election to kind of take the view that mistruths from either side of the spectrum are probably not the greatest problem any more.

The reality is those that are throwing stones at us about land clearing or damage to the reef or etc etc are a really minute portion of our population.

Now granted we need to keep an eye on them and keep them in check, but they’re never going to be our friends.

I feel like we have invested considerable funds and time and energy in chasing every interest group down every wombat hole trying to appease them, I think we just have to cop it on the chin that the Wilderness Society and the Australian beef industry, whether we like it or not, are never going to be the best of friends.

‘the Wilderness Society and the Australian beef industry, whether we like it or not, are never going to be the best of friends’

Because their agenda is completely against us.

I think we need to start owning that and answering to the fact that that is the case.

I really think we have got a great story to tell, and I think when you look at the current global pandemic that we’re in, you start to focus on where people’s allegiances and what is important to them.

And I would have thought that story starts really high with people and communities, it starts with economics, it starts with national security, they’re all really strong suits that our industry has in spades.

And we have taught ourselves through many examples that when we actually focus on the human element of the story or the economic impact of the story that our industry’s perspective wins out.

Mark Davie

 – “Combat mistruth with the truth”

– “Supermarkets, butchers, food manufacturers increasingly important consumer information sources”

– “I’d go as far as saying beef is our national dish”

How do we combat the mistruth?

I think that is an easy one – with the truth.

All the opposing forces that our industry has on every front vegetation management, deforestation, animal welfare and fake meat, rely on a lack of understanding by the greater public of to further their causes.

We need to promote the truth in a meaningful way.

Consumers are very wise to a sales pitch, that is why tools like the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework have never been more important in helping consumers feel good about eating meat.

We have got an incredible product. The first superfood, full of high quality protein, iron, zinc, helping large parts of the world meet their basic nutritional requirements.

Every Australian pub would struggle without it, it is the most expensive item on the menu, it drives their trade on steak night, I would go as far as saying it is our national dish.

Then we have got the production system. How often do we produce a completely renewable, non-industrialised biodiverse system and run by renewable energy from the sun and the rain. there are not many food production systems like it and I think there is a very big lack of understanding about the fact that our industry is renewable, particularly at a grassfed level.

The critical thing is how do we communicate this message

We need to overcome the great challenge of consumer sources of information and misinformation.

Disseminating a message in a meaningful way is becoming harder and harder.

The major sources of information for consumers are the internet and industry bodies.

But trust is eroding as the internet as a source of information on the environmental benefits of meat declining by six percent in the past 12 months.

Supermarkets, butchers and food manufacturers are becoming an increasingly important source of information on the environmental impacts of beef.

Together in the last year the each grew by 3 to 4 percent, and now equate to 46 percent of the information sources that consumers rely on.

My big concern is the supermarkets and the move for food manufacturers because the greatest exposure in our meat pile is the messaging made by the fake meat marketers for educating the consumer on the environment impact of beef by stating they are not beef.

They are implying that beef has a big environment impact without ever having to substantiate the claim.

So how do we disseminate a message across all of these platforms and how do we make it meaningful?

We need stories.

In a mock court trial where you assemble a jury, a prosecution and a defence and your present facts, the verdict favours 70-30 the side that is able to present their facts in a story.

‘the verdict favours 70-30 the side that is able to present their facts in a story’

As humans that is how we order information, that is how we remember it, and that is how we pass it on.

So we need to tell our story and we need rigorous data to support it.

As an example we had a recent live export issue in Aceh where a Mark I crush was used to slaughter an animal instead of a Mark IV crush

A mark I crush involves the animal being tripped, tied down with ropes and being slaughtered, whereas a mark IV crush has a higher standard attached to it.

What we don’t focus is on is that without the Australian livestock export industry, there would never be a Mark IV crush in an Indonesia slaughterhouse on a remote peninsula.

That we export intellectual property in animal welfare and that as a result of that animals everywhere are treated better, not just animals in Australia

How many people here would understand the positive impact the Australian livestock export industry has had on the global market

I guess my problem is I don’t understand because we have not reported it and we are not telling that story, so people think that live export is not improving standards of animal welfare when it is.

Regarding domestic marketing, I think MLA has had some wonderful initiatives, some huge promotional moments, but unfortunately we are seeing a decline in domestic consumption of beef from 40 to 25kg of beef per person in the last two decades

We need to drive a culture that is accountable and does not accept minor improvements as a good result

In the recent consumer trends research it was reported that 55pc of people agree with the statement that cattle producers make a positive contribution to their lives.

I see the 45pc of people that disagree with that statement, and as someone living the sustainable beef story I find it difficult to accept anything below 90pc.

Elon Musk has changed the world through the creation of Tesla and SpaceX in a very short space of time, and his motto is that it is not whether we are failing, but by how much.

Approached with rational positivity this is the culture that drives performance and drives change, we need to find a way to fix of, media views and likes on social media is not important, they are not measuring the result, for domestic beef marketing kilograms of beef consumed per capita is the needle that we must move to demonstrate success.

Price can be used as a scapegoat for a drop in beef consumption, but price is driven by a perceived value, and we’re not telling the full story of the value of beef to our consumers.

In that context we need to sell the incredible production system, we need producers to embrace and own the ASBF, because there are a lot of positive metrics.

So we need to change our culture and we need to measure and sell our sizzle and not just our steak.

Russell Lethbridge

– “There is no point wasting oxygen on those sorts of people with very fixed ideas’

– Sustainability is not a threat

This is a subject pretty close to my own heart.

We absolutely must continue to communicate the wonderful story our industry has and how we are committed to the production of food which is produced in a clean green humane way.

And we must all be consistent with our story and always ensure if it is backed by factual science.

We must never give these groups the credibility of us getting into a defensive position.

We can never win from that position.

You certainly won’t win the consumers from that position.

I recall a time about five or six years ago at a live export conference in Townsville, there were some animal activists on the street and I took the time to go and have  chat to them for about 45 minutes and tried to explain the animal welfare standards, how it all works, and I might as well as have been speaking to the post beside them, they were in no mind to listen to a word I had to say.

‘I might as well have been speaking to the post beside them’

They had already made up their mind.

“That afternoon I decided there is no point wasting oxygen on those sorts of people with very fixed ideas.

“So we need to turn to the consumer and with recent consumer insight work done surveys done we have made some terrific inroads with mainstream consumers this year have far more trust and they think that we’re a much more trustworthy group of people to be producing their food.

“Mostly they’re not interested in listening to these radical groups our insights tell us the radical groups don’t capture very much of an audience at all and the minute we engage with the more radical side of them we just give them credibility they would not get in any other way.

“And as producers there are many producers out there that if you mention the word sustainability they think it is a threat.

“Well it is not, it is anything but, and sustainability comes in many forms for what we do in our natural resource, our human resource, every other aspect of what we do we must be sustainable to be profitable long term.

In this whole story we must never ever forget the power of social media. There is not one single producer out there that cannot take part and participate in this approach and continually tell the good consistent story of what we try to do and do very well as an industry.

Question 3

WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE SINCE SERVING ON BEHALF OF THE INDUSTRY?

David Hill

 – “We’re playing pop-gun politics”

– Why you should order a Sausage and Egg McMuffin

For myself it is about lost opportunity.

I went into CCA with a great deal of enthusiasm about the things that we could change to make this industry more profitable, and I just don’t mean from the producer point of view, I have always been an advocate for this industry to work, everyone across the value chain.

It needs to be sustainable and profitable across all points. It is a false economy to think it has to be all our side, you know we would like to see it more on our side more equitably at times.

There are so many things this industry has been world leading in, MSA which is the world standard as far as identifying eating quality in beef.

But MSA, it was in the mid 1990s was when we first looked at that, so now we’re looking to objectively measure traits like yield. Well, objective measures of yield traits was started the same time as MSA did.

With MSA it took us all that time to get to where we are now…

It is about the lost opportunity for me, and obviously as someone from CCA, I think often we’re seen as the poor cousins in all of this, whereas we should be the largest and most vibrant advocacy body in the country.

We represent 46,000 producers, but one of the things out of the last senate inquiry was the fact to get a levy payer database, so we could actually identify who those individual producers were, if you wanted to have an independent election, you are not going to start off with not being able to identify those that need to be part of it.

And the other one is consultancy. Bryce, as the chair of ALFA, to go and consult with his members, it is going to be a lot easier for him than it is for us to identify firstly and then try and consult with 46,000 members.

One of my biggest frustrations, I was trying to find a pop gun today, because I think I am involved in pop gun politics, because when the fight is on as a Cattle Council representative a lot of the time, I think I am getting a pop gun to and fight with.

It is somewhat frustrating for me and I don’t think we get the recognition of industry and the view of producers.

We often think that everyone else in the supply chain has more idea about a lot of things than what we do, well, some things I have been most pleased to be involved in my time in the industry are things that have actually been driven by producers and there has been many of them and they have been advantageous to everyone across the supply chain.

Obviously I am not real fond of getting up and speaking in front of people.

But I have always got a fun McDonald’s fact.

So people ask me what my favourite McDonald’s burger is, and I always say it is the Sausage and Egg McMuffin, because Australia is the only place globally where the sausage is actually made from beef.

Every other country in the world if you get a Sausage and Egg McMuffin, the sausage will be pork.

Supposedly it was done because the Australian consumer would not go for the pork patty on the breakfast burger. Australians really do love their beef, so I encourage everyone, next time you go to McDonald’s, try out a Sausage and Egg McMuffin.

Bryce Camm

– ‘Reality is that singing from same hymn book unlikely to happen, and that’s okay’

When you are involved in private business your ability to affect change and drive strategy and policy, you tend to have a lot closer control over the handles, and the learning experience in working through industry is the progression that you have got to take people on.

And while that at first was frustrating I think actually I learned there is a richness in understanding the diversity across our entire national beef supply chain system

And I do, I know we always speak of singing from the one hymn book or talking in unison about our industry, and the reality is I don’t think that is ever going to happen.

And I actually think that that’s okay.

In that there are many production systems that are very different. The Wagyu breeder on King Island is not always going to see eye to eye with the live export producer in the Pilbara.

The processor has a competitive notion against their grassfed producer, there are many dynamics at play in our sector.

But I do think when we do work together and particularly some of the crisis management scenarios I have seen, industry across all parts of it and all production systems can work really well together.

And I think we all as leaders in whatever capacity you serve in across the sector, it is really important that people continue to focus on that and work towards that for successful policy outcomes for this wider industry.

I just thought I would touch on the representation piece as well.

Obviously ALFA is a directly elected membership model.

And David is dead right, there are not too many over 400 odd feedlotters across the country, and ALFA today represents about 86 percent of the feedlot capacity in terms of people that pay their membership every year.

And we welcome anyone to come and join our board and I welcome anyone to challenge me to the job.

But it is really important that people stand up.

If you have a problem with what is going on in your sector, I think you need to stand up and get involved.

I know Mark said that earlier in the day, when you think about it, particularly from the grassfed production sector, you know it is, David is exactly right, it is the engine room of our entire industry, and we really should, the representative body for Australian grassfed beef production should be one of the strongest bodies in this nation.

And I do implore all of you to stand up and get involved. to get involved in the process, because there is much reward in it, but there is much reward to be done for our wider sector.

Mark David

– What could be achieved if all producers were members and engaged

It is producer participation. The large majority of producers only really participate in the industry when they’re under siege.

I remember coming into the CQLX here a couple of years ago for a veg management hearings and it was full.

But we struggle now to get producers to come to small events for AgForce.

We need a proactive industry, because AgForce works for all producers. There are structures in place in AgForce that have allowed the industry to respond quickly when we have issues like vegetation management, when we have had the land acquisition of Shoalwater Bay.

And the bulk of the work doesn’t necessarily happen in the media, or in the public forum, but behind closed doors.

In Government departments, and ministers’ offices, but I will acknowledge the opposition ag minister here this evening.

So it is difficult for producers to appreciate the amount of issues that arise on a daily basis in industry advocacy the small wins made for producers that they never hear about where advocacy helps to stop bad ideas from becoming bad policy.

Anyone that is not a member of AgForce feels it is does not represent them. But they are being represented by it on a daily basis.

We also have people that resign because they feel AgForce has done something they don’t agree with.

For everything like that there would be 20 things that AgForce is doing on a daily basis that is helping to support your business.

As a member of the AgForce Cattle Board board I don’t represent myself, I don’t represent my region, I don’t represent my region, I don’t represent AgForce members, I represent the advancement of sustainable beef across Queensland for all producers, so we would be willing to provide that service for non-members regardless.

What would AgForce be if all cattle producers were members and more members were engaged?

Anyone that is not a member here or listening this evening needs to grab a nomination form from Sara, because we will be better off with your participation.

Russell Lethbridge

– Negativity directed at industry bodies a major problem

I guess over the years I have learned I guess to maybe switch of a bit more, but it is certainly the negativity that is directed at industry representative bodies.

I remember when I was chair of the northern region for AgForce, most of the advice that I got were from people that weren’t ever members of an industry organisation or never intended to be, but they were always sliding up to give me all the advice under the sun and which I listened to in good faith, however it does leave you wondering.

And we see the negativity, look constructive criticism is absolutely always welcome, my email account, I will answer phone calls and emails, I am all ears, I certainly want to hear what people if they have got an issue then call.

However I see a lot of dialogue that is nothing more than destructive to what we’re all trying to achieve here and a lot of the time without a solution.

I think all industry reps’ doors are open all the time and I am absolutely sure that everyone is only too happy to discuss an issue.

I am an avid Beef Central reader, I listen to the sentiment, I get bit of a gauge off that, and certainly if there are issues that arise I certainly try to bring them about, I think we all need to be aware that there is a constructive way of doing things and then the negative way.

I guess I have learned to deal with it over a number of years, I guess your skin gets a bit thicker.

While you are there in Rocky (where the webinar was being hosted) I see on Beef Central a couple of weeks ago that McDonald’s have dropped the Angus certification, maybe we should be talking about the Brahman burger while you are all up there.

 

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Comments

  1. Dennis Ward, 18/10/2020

    Mark Davie
    – “Combat mistruth with the truth” -“They are implying that beef has a big environment impact without ever having to substantiate the claim.”
    10% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions come from producing beef. According to the document below …. you have to accept beef has an impact and stop saying it;s completely renewable or has positive environmental benefits.
    https://www.sustainableaustralianbeef.com.au/managing-climate-change-risk
    C’mon guys – you need to do better than calling greenies liars if they are just quoting back industry documents?
    Stick with positive stories like CN30.

  2. Peter, 08/10/2020

    I have worked in the meat industry for around 30 years and I have a small hobby farm and deal in cattle, but the thing that irks me the most with tv adds trying to promote beef is the pictures of steak and roasts that are cooked rare. Most of the younger generation are turned off eating beef because of the rare state of the meat presented on TV. It is the same with cooking shows on TV. The sight of blood coming from so called cooked meat is very off putting for younger people. I like meat cooked like this but you are putting off a lot of people from eating beef showing it like this. Show meat that is fully cooked if you want to promote it to consumers that are a bit dubious.

  3. Tom Campbell Taroom, 08/10/2020

    I may as well chuck my 2 bobs worth in one reason why Cattle Producers sick of CCA and Agforce is the BJD Quarantine no such thing as sticking up for your mates or having there backs when they are down
    With the help of McVeigh you threw 240 cattle producers under a bus with all the crap both CCA and Agforce went on with
    It was left to Leanne Donaldson Labor Ag Minister to release the Quarantine
    I was bought up in an era that you looked after your mates,did not leave your mates behind but that has been lost with both CCA and Agforce who both have no idea how to look after there mates

  4. Caroline Harris, 08/10/2020

    So sorry to have missed this live. Thank you Sara for this presentation. So many excellent insights and ideas. My favourite take away was Mark Davie’s description of the Beef Production System “…. completely renewable, non industralised, biodiverse system run by renewable energy from the sun and the rain”

  5. John Richard, 08/10/2020

    What a great selection of comments and ideas . Congratulations to all participants
    JR

  6. David Byard, 07/10/2020

    Fascinating webinar is seems to me that most thinking producers realise that producers, can’t or won’t sit down at the table try and find mutual ground then they run the risk becoming part of the menu.
    One of the questions was in the falling consumption of retail beef pointed out that in Australia we ate through 40 kg per person in 2000 and now we are down to 25kg, however last week I was interested to read where it was 19.5kg, population 24 million people 5.5 kg per person becomes important. To me the whole point is united we stand divided we fall and if we can design and elect a board that was democratically elected and was financed with producer levies we may find we have a strong and vibrant cattle producer organisation would have among other things political clout.
    David Byard

    • Roger Crook, 30/10/2020

      You are quite right David and somewhat brave for stating what is the patently bloody obvious. You mention the decline in beef consumption and I agree it is a worry. I wonder how much of the decline is attributable to changes in ‘taste’ and age demographics or whether the beef industry has failed to look at what in other industries would be called the ‘bearable price’? By that I mean what can the average consumer afford to pay for beef? I know from experience and now long retired and on a more limited income, we often walk past both the beef and the lamb counters, because quite frankly, for us as pensioners and I remind you all our numbers are increasing, the product you provide is expensive, for us.
      The other thing I should mention and I know you have referred to it often and that is the cost of processing in Australia compared to our competitors. I am alarmed at the increases in beef sales from South America into China.

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