Opinion

Opinion: A fresh start for the grass-fed cattle industry

Andrew Macaulay, Independent Chair of the Grass-fed Cattle Restructure Steering Committee, 17/03/2022

It was Charles Darwin who said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

Considering the events of the past two years – the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters, and disruptions to industries and supply chains – this adage rings true for organisations as well.

Andrew Macaulay

Adapting to change has never been more critical for companies to succeed.

For the grass-fed cattle industry, system-wide changes over recent decades have formed the catalyst for government and industry to come together and establish a new national peak body, named Cattle Australia.

Both groups also recognised that the grass-fed cattle industry must be united, well represented and inclusive to adapt to future changes, and to contribute to the Commonwealth Government’s objective for the agricultural sector to become a $100 billion industry by 2030.

Over the past 12 months, Cattle Australia has been developed through an iterative and collaborative process involving producers, red-meat industry groups, state farming organisations, peak industry councils and governments.

This consultative approach has enabled the creation of an organisation that is poised to become the grass-fed cattle industry’s new peak industry council, providing a visible, unified, and influential voice for producers.

It has also helped ensure that Cattle Australia can achieve its purpose of representing the interests of all Australian cattle producers and uniting levy payers, engaging with cattle producers and industry stakeholders, advocating on all matters important to the cattle industry, leading and directing policy development and its implementation and protecting the profitability, competitiveness, and future of the cattle industry.

However, implementing change is rarely easy and there have been challenges during the Cattle Australia development journey.

Uniting disparate groups with varying priorities has been difficult, as well as identifying sustainable funding mechanisms and ensuring governance structures will deliver fair and democratic representation.

Fortunately, common to all stakeholders in the grass-fed cattle sector is a passion for the industry and a desire to see it succeed.

This has allowed us to achieve good momentum during the development process and reach this next stage of consultation, where producers and other invested stakeholders can have their say on Cattle Australia’s national work priorities.

This public consultation period is critical in ensuring that the new entity can represent the interests of all Australian cattle producers and I encourage producers to share their thoughts on what the key priorities for Cattle Australia and the grass-fed cattle sector should be. This will help us shape an organisation that works with, and for, cattle producers.

Feedback can be provided by:

• visiting the Cattle Australia website at www.cattleaustralia.com.au

• emailing cattle.feedback@three60consulting.com.au

• attending our series of webinars in March and April, which producers can register for here.

Producers and other interested stakeholders can also subscribe to Cattle Australia updates here and be part of the journey to realising a national voice for the grass-fed cattle industry and a new era of democratic representation, leadership and growth.

Cattle Australia is intended to launch on 1 July 2022, at which point Cattle Council of Australia’s responsibilities will transition to the new entity.

Cattle Australia will build on the important work undertaken by Cattle Council of Australia – the current Australian peak grass-fed cattle organisation – over the past 43 years.

However, Cattle Australia’s new governance structure will broaden its representative base and ensure flexibility and adaptability in a rapidly changing environment.

Put simply, Cattle Australia will future proof the grass-fed cattle industry and put producers on the front foot in addressing challenges and capitalising on opportunities.

Cattle Australia marks a fresh start for the grass-fed cattle industry, allowing the sector to elevate its national policy priorities and industry advocacy efforts and ensure grass-fed levies support grass-fed producers and a stronger grass-fed economy.

I look forward to hearing the thoughts of producers and other stakeholders during this consultation period about what Cattle Australia’s priorities should be. The industry is a significant contributor to Australian agriculture and employs thousands of people, reinforcing the importance of getting this right. By working together, we’ll grow together.

Source: Grass-fed Cattle Restructure Steering Committee

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