Forum at Calliope: Chewing the Fat of Beef

AUSTRALIA - This year marks a turning point for Australia’s beef industry, with a series of critical issues on the cards.
calendar icon 6 March 2009
clock icon 2 minute read

AgForce Cattle acting president Grant Maudsley said all sectors of the supply chain will have a chance to ‘chew the fat’ on beef’s big issues at a special forum in Calliope on 24 March.

One issue which will chart the future direction of the industry is the re-evaluation of the cattle transaction levy.

Mr Maudsley said Queensland beef producers will have a strong voice on the future of the $5 transaction levy, with a number of AgForce members taking part in the steering committee which will review the levy before it potentially reverts back to $3.50 at the end of 2010.

“The key question for the committee is ‘where should the levy go to?’ in terms of the direction and utilisation of this industry funding,” Mr Maudsley said.

“In response to the levy review, AgForce has raised critical questions about the issues, challenges and opportunities for marketing Australian beef and live exports.”

Mr Maudsley said it was encouraging to see Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics forecast a boost to the beef industry in 2009-10, combined with a growing awareness of the importance of agriculture in the economy as shown by recent Australian Bureau of Statistics figures.

“However, the beef industry needs to be proactive and not reactive, and highlight the ‘good news stories’. We need to promote our natural ability to produce beef from grass, in comparison to our competitors’ large reliance on factory farmed beef,” he said.

“The industry should also highlight the fundamental role producers and cattle play in managing grasslands, and tell the positive story associated with grazing beef cattle in Australia. As the current state election shows, we continually run the risk of unnecessary new government red tape in natural resource management because the community does not understand the positive side of livestock production.

“We need the MLA in a position to safeguard domestic demand by communicating that message to all Australian households” he said. AgForce is also asking how MLA will maintain and increase access to existing markets; break down barriers to new and emerging markets; address future production challenges; and ensure outcomes will add value to both mainstream and niche products.

Mr Maudsley said it was essential for all sectors of the supply chain to be involved in charting the future of the industry. AgForce Cattle will seek local input into policy debates at the open forum in Calliope, where anyone with an interest in beef is welcome to put forward their issues

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