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TAS Country : November 18th 2010
12 Tasmanian Country Friday, November 19, 2010 News Beef needs a Kekovich kick-along KAROLIN MacGREGOR THE continuing price squeeze facing the country's beef farmers was a key issue raised at this week's Meat and Livestock Aust- ralia producer forum in Launceston. Producers at the forum told key MLA speakers that a lack of significant price increases for cattle over the past decade and spiralling costs were major concerns. MLA general manager for international markets and economic services Peter Barnard said it was a problem the organisation recognised, but in the short term there was no sign of prices increasing signifi- cantly. However, Mr Barnard said emerging export mar- kets for Australian beef, combined with forecasts of a decline in the value of the Australian dollar next year, could see the situation improve. ''I think we are approach- ing a limit of the world being able to supply a popu- lation of six billion people with food cheaply,'' he said. MLA general manager of marketing Glen Feist said the organisation was work- ing hard to promote the sales of beef and lamb in the domestic market. Mr Feist gave forum par- ticipants an overview of the MLA's current marketing efforts, including the new Nothing Beats Beef cam- paign. As well as extensive tele- vision and magazine mar- keting, MLA was focusing more on point-of-sale programs, which target con- sumers directly while they are shopping and encourag- ing them to buy more beef. He highlighted the suc- cess of the MLA's We Love Our Lamb campaigns. Mr Feist told forum partici- pants the lamb campaign had been specifically linked to calendar dates, including spring time and Australia Day. Over the past six years, Sam Kekovich has become well known as the face and voice of Australia's lamb industry through a series of television advertisements based on Australia Day. Mr Feist said this cam- paign could be directly lin- ked to a major boost in lamb sales at that time of the year. Greenham Tasmania managing director Peter Greenham also spoke at the forum and told participants that successful branding had to be backed by an accurate grading system such as Meat Standards Australia. Mr Greenham said his company started to increase its product branding after introducing MSA grading into its Smithton abattoir in 2007. ''What it allowed us to do was separate the good beef from the really great beef,'' he said. ''Consistency in a brand is one of the most important things. Even within the MSA-graded meat you need to restrict which grades you include to make sure you have that consistent product and con- sumers aren't let down.'' Greenham now has four established brands for MSA- graded beef, including Cape Grim beef, and will soon introduce a fifth brand. Mr Greenham said pro- ducers received all the MSA grading information on their cattle, normally with- in 48 hours of them being processed. About 90 per cent of the beef sold from Greenham's Smithton fac- tory is MSA-graded. UNOPPOSED: Queensland beef producer Greg Brown was re-elected as Cattle Council president. Council leaders ride high again KAROLIN MacGREGOR JOSEPH PRESIDENTS of both the Cattle Council and the Sheepmeat Council have been re-elected unopposed at the organisations' annual meetings in Launceston this week. Queensland beef producer Greg Brown was re-elected as Cattle Council president and said he was pleased to be able to continue representing grass-roots producers. The council's new vice-president is Andrew Ogilvie from South Australia, who replaces the outgoing vice-president Bob Barwell. Tasmanian producer Paul Saward, from Redpa, was also re- elected as the organisation's honorary treasurer. Mr Brown said the council had made significant progress in the past 12 months and had been active in policy debates over issues including domestic beef retailing, trade and market access issues and the Productivity Commission's review of agricultural research and development corporations. ''We've come a long way in the past 12 months, progressing a number of policies and stamping out several bush fires,'' he said. One of those policy developments has been working towards an Australia-Korea Free Trade Agreement, which could see the removal of the country's 40 per cent import tariff over the next 15 years. ''Securing at least import parity to the US for Australian beef in the Korean market has been a long- term focus for Cattle Council and we are close to securing this milestone,'' Mr Brown said. He said an important part of the Cattle Council's role was evaluating the expenditure of funding by Meat and Livestock Australia. ''Beef producers can further strengthen their voice and influence policy at the national level by actively participating in their state farming organisations,'' Mr Brown said. At the Sheepmeat Council meeting on Monday, Victorian prime lamb producer Kate Joseph was re-elected unopposed as the organisation's president. ''We've worked hard to ensure producers' views are heard by our Government and that sound policy is developed to support our industry,'' she said. Taking on the role of vice- president is Ian McColl from Koorawatha in New South Wales, who replaces outgoing vice- president Scott Anderson. West Australian producer David Boyle was re-elected honorary treasurer. Ms Joseph said key issues for the council this year would be sheep health and welfare and traceability. ''The Sheepmeat Council continues to support the most practical and cost-effective option for sheep traceability in Australia, which is a visual mob-based system,'' she said. ''But producers need to do their part to ensure the integrity of the system by correctly completing their National Vendor Declaration forms.'' Ms Joseph said another major focus of the council this year would be working with key trading partners such as Europe, the US and the Middle East to improve market access for Australian sheepmeat. DVD targets child deaths and injuries THE figures about child deaths and injuries on Australian farms have inspired the creation of a Tasmanian farm safety DVD cal- led If Only. Tasmanian farm safety group Proactive Agricultural Safety and Support Inc chair Anne Taylor said Launceston Polytechnic Screen Studies students were as- ked to make a film that would raise awareness of safety issues on farms and help prevent unnecess- ary accidents. Interviews with survivors and witnesses of farm accidents fea- ture on the DVD. Part one of If Only is being launched at Longford on Wednesday by National Disabilities Services manager Margaret Reynolds. About 20 children die each year on Australian farms and about one quarter of these children who died were visiting farms. The major causes of child deaths and injuries on farms are dams, farm vehicles, machinery, motor- cycles and horses. In Victoria, children account for one in seven farm deaths. Five to six children drown in farm dams and water bodies each year in Australia. Most are under five years of age and a third are visiting farms. Part two of the DVD focuses on quad bikes, guns and tractors. It will be released next month. Part One of If Only will be launched at the Toosey Hospital Community Centre, 11 Smith St, Longford, at 7.30pm on Wednesday. Critics roasted at MLA meet HEATLEY Company survives vote KAROLIN MacGREGOR A RESOLUTION to wind up Meat and Livestock Australia was defeated at a heated annual meeting of the organis- ation in Launceston this week. Members of the MLA flew in from around the country for the meeting, which saw outspoken New South Wales beef producer Ranald Braund asked to leave the lectern by MLA chairman Don Heatley. Mr Braund was the first person to speak in favour of a special resolution to wind up MLA by December next year, but strongly objected to a two- minute time period allocated for him to speak. Several members of the Cattle Coun- cil walked out during Mr Braund's presentation, during which he said the organisation was out of control, un- democratic and that it had done little to benefit its levy-paying beef producers. A vote was taken at the meeting and 84.7 per cent of members voted against the resolution. Mr Heatley said he was reassured by producers' support for the company. ''Improvements in the way MLA provides services should be sought in a positive and constructive manner, rat- her than a destructive one with the potential to severely hamper the indus- try's marketing and research efforts,'' he said. Australian Beef Association chair- man Brad Bellinger was another per- son who spoke in favour of the resolution, saying MLA was '''en- trenched in incompetence'' and that meat processors and retailers benefits more from MLA than levy-payers. Cattle Council president Greg Brown described the resolution as irrespon- sible. ''I can't believe that people are constantly trying to undermine the efforts of MLA and the livelihoods of beef producer in Australia by doing this,'' he said. Supporters of the resolution say MLA has done little to increase the price of cattle for the country's beef producers over the past decade. However, the organisation's supporters re- jected this view, saying it was vital producers had a strong represen- tative body. Sheepmeat Council president Kate Joseph said MLA had played a crucial role in developing the country's prime lamb industry, with exports increasing from 14 per cent to 45 per cent of production. During his address at the meeting, MLA managing director David Palmer said the organisation's revenue had increased by 5.1 per cent during 2009-10 to $171.8 million. About $57.1 million in levies was paid by grass-fed cattle producers, $7.7 million by grain-fed beef producers and $28.3 million from lamb producers. Government funding of about $44.3 million also makes up a large part of the organisation's funding. Expenditure for 2009-10 was up by 16 per cent to $170.7 million, leaving a surplus of $1.1 million for the year. Members also voted to re-elect direc- tors Michael Carroll and Lucinda Corrigan for second terms. New South Wales beef producer Robert Anderson was also voted on to the board as a first- time director with 86.7 per cent support.
November 11th 2010
November 25th 2010