Trade access, climate and animal welfare among hot topics at meat processor conference + PICTURES

Jon Condon, 01/11/2023

AFTER an eight-year hiatus due to COVID and other disruptions, the Australian Meat Industry Council is hosting the 2023 Meat Processing and Export Conference on the Gold Coast today.

More than 350 red meat processors and other stakeholders from across Australia and New Zealand have rolled up for today’s program. It’s been a tough three years for the red meat processing industry, buffeted by the pandemic, chronic labour shortages, unstable international markets and record high slaughter stock costs during 2021 and 2022, but 2024 is looking more promising.

Trade, politics, climate, market access, the economic landscape, animal welfare and logistics are just some of the important topics that will come into focus during conference sessions.

Tonight’s gala dinner will see recognition of a significant contribution to the red meat industry through the awarding of the 2023 AMIC Distinguished Service Award.

Federal Agriculture Minister Murray Watt opened the conference this morning, explaining his three key policies that will deliver surety to the business of meat processing and exporting.

He will be followed by political commentator and author Peter Hartcher provides a challenging insight into the political x climate x economic landscape that will determine our future access to food, fuel and security.

During a session on Australian Agriculture on the World Stage, Su McClusky, Special Representative for Australian Agriculture under the Federal Government’s Global Agriculture Leadership Initiative will discuss her engagement with regulators, stakeholders and farmers in key overseas markets which has her well placed to provide insight and commentary into Australia’s trading future – and the opportunities and challenges ahead.

Later in the day, former Labor minister Joel Fitzgibbon will provide his unique insight into how best to work with a Labor government and powerful unions on the critical matters of workforce – particularly immigration and industrial relations.

He will be followed by a session on the future of meat processing according to RSPCA, featuring RSPCA chief executive Richard Mussell; and a panel discussion around key issues affecting the world meat industry – helping understand what markets will require in terms of animal welfare, environment & food safety. Participants will include NZ Meat Industry Association CEO, Sirma Karapeeva; Canadian Meat Council president, Chris White; North American Meat Institute President, Julie Anna Potts and AMIC CEO Patrick Hutchinson.

Another key conference session will focus on the China Influence, with media identity Stan Grant hosting a panel session on the role of China in the global meat market. Joining him on stage will be Jenny Chen of the Australia-China Business Council; KPMG Chairman, NSW, Head of Asia & International Markets, Doug Ferguson; and keynote speakers.

Some of the delegates attending today’s conference are pictured below

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Minerva Australia was represented by chief executive Iain Mars, right, with chief financial officer Francisco Assis and industry affairs manager Cory Hogg.

Callan Daley from MEQ demonstrates his company’s objective carcase assessment technology to Mick Taylor from Fulton Marketing Group, in the trade display area

AMIC chief executive Patrick Hutchinson, left, welcomes Thomas Foods International CEO Darren Thomas and Lloyd Buckner from environmental consultants Waterform

Roger Fletcher from processor, Fletcher International makes a point to industry stakeholders, from left, MLA MD Jason Strong, AusMeat chief executive Stephen Crisp and chairman Allan Bloxsom

Australian Country Choice chief commercial officer Merrick Studders, left, with Rangers Valley meat division manager Andrew Moore and chief executive, Keith Howe

Pat Gleeson and Phil Hutchison from PPS Advisory, with Neil Barrie, Katherine Pastoral Co

Allan Kropp from Australian Country Choice, with David Carew, recently apppointed Australian Meat Processor Corporation development manager


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