FEEDING seaweed to cattle to cut greenhouse gas emissions, preserving rural communities and developing new and profitable food products are just some of the diverse topics on the agenda at an Australian Meat Processor Corporation conference in Sydney later this month.
The AMPC, the research & development body supporting the red meat processing sector in Australia, will host the Vital Ingredient Sustainability Conference on 29-30 November.
A lineup of industry experts, including international competiveness expert Professor Ted Schroeder from the US, meat scientist Declan Troy from Ireland and Tim Ritchie from New Zealand Meat Industry Association will discuss risks facing the red meat processing sector, which employs 134,000 people and contributes $23 billion annually to Australia’s economy.
Panel sessions will cover international competitiveness, the regulatory environment, changing consumer patterns, climate change, social licence to operate and value chain integration.
Also speaking is Professor Richard Eckard a director of the Primary Industries Climate Challenges Centre. His research focuses on profitable and sustainable livestock production systems, nitrogen cycling and loss in agricultural grazing systems, with a recent focus on carbon farming and options for livestock production systems to respond to a changing climate.
The conference is a sequel to the processing industry’s recent Feast of Ideas workshop held in Wagga Wagga that sought fresh inspiration for ensuring the sustainability and profitability of the processing sector. The workshop identified six risk factors faced by the red meat processing industry, as highlighted in this earlier Beef Central story.
“Now we’re looking at how we can use best practices to become one of the best sustainable business sectors in Australia,” AMPC chairman Peter Noble said.
“Our industry has changed phenomenally over the past 20 years along with consumption patterns and the regulatory environment. Doing nothing now will mean we could lose value from the entire red meat supply chain,” he said.
The search for answers will take the conference into new territory, like the “Internet of Things,” where everyday objects are connected, whether that be options for transforming meat to boost its acceptance in some markets, or methane-lowering seaweed added to stockfeed.
Some of the risks identified in the AMPC’s recently released Feast of Ideas sustainability report will be best tackled by the entire supply chain collaborating more effectively, Mr Noble said.
“Lack of information-sharing can disadvantage participants along the chain and lead to low levels of trust, and cooperation.”
Improving continuity of cattle supply and automation technologies that can cut processing costs will be important, too, if processors are to successfully deal with the threats they face.
The conference will also feature the latest research and innovation in meat and food science and showcase innovative technologies.
“The red meat industry is the foundation on which many rural communities are built,” Mr Noble said.
“I look forward to seeing its representatives at the conference to discuss how we best map out our shared future.”
At a glance
What: AMPC’s The Vital Ingredient Conference
When: 29-30 November 2016
Where: Four Seasons Hotel, Sydney
Program and Information: Click here.