A program designed to help cattle producers improve the performance of their operations in comparison to district and industry averages, and to highlight sustainable production practices across Queensland’s grazing industry, has received a new funding commitment from the Queensland Government.
AgForce Queensland says new funding for the further development of the Best Management Practice (BMP) system for the grazing industry will allow “the outstanding environmental and animal welfare outcomes achieved by graziers” to be highlighted to the broader community.
The Grazing BMP has been developed in by AgForce Queensland, Fitzroy Basin Association and the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
It follows the adoption of the Cotton BMP and Grains BMP in the farming sector.
In those industries the BMP provides both a performance benchmarking and improvement process for farmers and an industry reporting tool. Producers who pariticipate in those voluntary programs are also typically given acces to expert advice to assist with knowledge in key management areas and in some cases subsidies on the cost of technological upgrades, such as GPS guidance systems to facilite the transition into controlled traffic farming.
The Fitzroy Basin Association, AgForce and the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry have been developing a voluntary grazing BMP to date through a project in the Fitzroy Basin.
AgForce said the Grazing BMP program will deliver data to measure on-property practices, against which farmers involved in the program can use to compare their progress in a key range of management areas in future, and will also provide information to assist the industry to promote its credentials.
“This system will be an excellent tool for producers in assessing their business performance and an important provision of information to industry to ensure it can convey key messages about good environment and welfare practices,” AgForce president Ian Burnett said.
“We also thank the Queensland Government for its financial contribution to assist in finalising the BMP and its recognition of the importance of this system to keep the state’s grazing industries productive and competitive.”
Under the system AgForce will retain ownership of the collective and aggregated industry data so it can be used to recognise the successes of the industry in producing food in a safe and sustainable way.
Mr Burnett said the program was a positive step towards creating a management system that is developed and implemented by industry, for industry.
“As consumers increasingly demand to know where and how their food is produced it’s also an important move towards securing our long term competitiveness as an industry.”
Queensland agriculture minister John McVeigh said the Qld Government was working with the grazing industry to help producers transition from regulation to an industry-led system underpinned by profitability, productivity and land stewardship.
Queensland environment minister Andrew Powell said the framework would place the grazing industry in a strong position to boost profitability while improving water quality in reef catchments.
The Grazing BMP website says the program has been developed with two key objectives.
“Firstly, it allows graziers to assess their current practices against industry standards and identify areas for improvement which lead to improved profitability and sustainability for their business.
“Secondly, it will allow the grazing industry to report the level of adoption of sustainable production practices which is becoming more important with community and customer interest in how their product is being produced.
“This will allow the grazing industry to be proactive in dealing with issues affecting the industry by showcasing the sustainable production practices being used by many graziers.”