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Prue Bondfield to lead beef sustainability steering group

Beef Central, February 5, 2016
Prue Bondfield

Prue Bondfield

Ten Australian beef industry stakeholders have been appointed to steer the development of the Australian beef industry’s sustainability framework.

Appointed by the Red Meat Advisory Council, the steering group will be chaired by Queensland stud cattle producer Prue Bondfield.

The group will assess sustainability issues, consider the most relevant indicators to report and measure sustainability progress in future, and develop a draft framework for consultation back to industry and all interested parties.

The process is aimed at helping the Australian beef industry to effectively communicate its commitment to sustainability to its customers and the wider community.

The steering committee will get to work with a two-day workshop to be held later this month.

Mrs Bondfield said the group will build on work that has already undertaken across the industry in helping to clarify what sustainable beef production means in Australia.

Lead up work to identify possible future KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for Australian beef industry sustainability was conducted last year by a small team led by former feedlot industry leader Jim Cudmore, who is also on the 10 person steering group.

The process dovetails with the sustainability component of the Australian Red Meat Industry Strategic Plan 2020 (MISP 4) released late last year.

Mrs Bondfield said the plan is to create an ‘industry level’ sustainability platform.

“The framework will use existing datasets that look at whole of industry, rather than being focused on establishing an on-farm system,” Mrs Bondfield said.

“It’s critical that the Australian beef industry leads the discussion about exactly what sustainable production means and how we can measure it successfully to reinforce our industry’s world class credentials.”

She said it was also important that Australia’s beef industry was on the front foot in developing a sustainability framework for Australia and for Australian beef.

RMAC chair Ross Keane said the steering group was tasked “with improving transparency across areas of broad-base sustainability (including environmental, ethical, social and financial aspects of operations) in the beef industry”.

Mr Keane said Mrs Bondfield was well placed to facilitate the process.

“Prue is an innovative leader in our industry and is committed to sustainable production not only within her own operation but also in building the profile of Australia’s beef industry’s credentials, Mr Keane said.

“Prue runs a highly successful seedstock business with her husband David and also has a background in law, project management and extensive committee experience.

“Importantly, Prue is passionate about building community trust to secure the future of the industry.”

Mr Keane said the framework will set in motion a number of red meat industry priorities outlined in the recently released MISP 2020 on improving transparency, aligning production practices with community expectations and building trust in the sector.

The Industry Steering Group comprises:

  • Prue Bondfield (Chair), Queensland cattle producer and seedstock operator with a background in law and project management.
  • Tom Stockwell, Northern Territory cattle producer and previous DPI manager from Katherine with over 20 years experience with research and extension in northern cattle operations.
  • Tony Hegarty, New South Wales cattle producer with a focus on natural resource management and almost 30 years involvement in the Landcare movement.
  • Pip Job, A background in cattle production and an executive member of Landcare NSW with a focus on establishing regenerative agricultural systems to create sustainable food production and environmental outcomes for many generations to come.
  • Richard Rains, Over 40 years experience promoting and selling Australian beef to the world with a strong understanding of the Australian beef supply chain and what our major customers are requiring.
  • Tess Herbert, Sixth generation cattle producer with a successful feedlot in Central NSW and a commitment to animal welfare and innovation in the feedlot sector.
  • Jim Cudmore, Led the review of how the Australian beef industry should promote its sustainability credentials which was the precursor to this group being formed and a former feedlot manager and well respected industry veteran.
  • Mark Inglis, Background in animal husbandry and animal production in a broad range of properties including cattle properties in Western Australia’s Kimberley. In his current role, he has developed a detailed understanding of emerging customer requirements around production practices.
  • Tom McGuire, Tom has been involved in the Australian meat industry since 1997 and has a deep understanding of the Australian beef supply chain and what international customers are requesting the Australian industry to demonstrate in the areas of sustainability.
  • Dr Peter Barnard, Over 30 years experience providing market information to the Australian beef industry and assisting the industry during Free Trade Agreement negotiations.

Meat & Livestock Australia will act as a Secretariat for the steering group with assistance from the other industry service providers.

The steering group will meet for the first time in late February and formally begin the process of developing an industry-led framework.

Source: RMAC

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