Grassfed campaign hits social media

03 Feb, 2015 09:40 AM
Producers are exiting daily - and urgent action is required to restore our sustainability

A SOCIAL media campaign has been launched today in support of the creation of a new organisation to replace the Cattle Council of Australia.

Through the campaign the Australian Meat Producers Group (AMPG) says it is voicing the broader cattle industry's calls for Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce to ensure the establishment of a Grassfed Cattle Corporation.

AMPG is a collection of mainly family-based cattle producers in northern Australia who have long sought changes to the representative structure of cattle producers and the use of levies for Meat and Livestock Australia.

The AMPG wants the new corporation to collect the transaction levies from cattle produced from pasture based production systems and to guide how those levies are used to specifically improve the profitability of the grassfed cattle industry.

The formation of a Grassfed Cattle Corporation is one of the recommendations made following a Senate Committee Inquiry initiated by Mr Joyce last year.

Queensland AMPG co-founder and Theodore-district cattle producer Cameron McIntyre said it was essential the industry was properly organised and represented properly to manage the industry and manage media issues.

"Cattle Council is broke and the cattle bodies within the state farm organisations with the exceptions for probably AgForce and NSW are not functioning," Mr McIntyre said.

"In 2013-14, grass fed cattle producers made up $61.5 million of Meat and Livestock Australia's $117.5m levy income.

"But despite contributing more than half of the income, grassfed producers received very little of MLA's output.

"At the same time, Australian producers are slowly going broke, last year receiving less than $2/kg for liveweight steers, almost half the returns to US producers for similar stock.

"Producers are exiting daily - and urgent action is required to restore our sustainability."

Mr McIntyre said the new corporation could be achieved in two ways.

The first was the creation of a body through legislation delivered by the Federal Government.

The second was for the existing farm groups and other groups including the AMPG to determine a new structure and present their plan to Mr Joyce.

Mr McIntyre said corporation board members would be directly elected by levy payers. However, he said he envisaged a two-tiered voting system to ensure that both corporate and smaller scale producers were fairly represented.

Mr McIntyre said cattle producers desperately needed a well-resourced, accountable body with a focus on improving the profitability of the industry.

"In short, we need to follow through on the Senate Committee recommendations for a Grassfed Cattle Corporation directing its energies towards strategies that restore the future of grassfed beef production in Australia," Mr McIntyre said.

"There is no doubt that Minister Joyce is determined to act in the industry's best interests but cattle producers do need to publicly support these much-needed reforms recommended by the Senate Committee."

Click here to view the social media campaign.

Mr McIntyre said the AMPG was scheduled to meet with Cattle Council representatives on Monday.

Comment is being sought from Cattle Council of Australia and AgForce Cattle.

Mark Phelps

Mark Phelps

is editor-in-chief of Queensland Country Life
Date: Newest first | Oldest first


Frank the Furious Farmer
3/02/2015 12:47:35 PM

My goodness what a bunch of crap! Grass fed producers don't want another self appointed bureaucracy. They want all seven Senate recommendations adopted, not have a small group pick and choose which recommendations suit them. Follow the money!!
3/02/2015 12:58:34 PM

No, this is wrong, the grass fed levy payers need to be identified first and then they vote on what kind of organisation is necessary, the quantum of the levy and how it is used. This proposal above seems to be going after the funds first and real levy payer control is a after thought and is not good enough. Barnaby should immediately adopt all senate recommendations, the industry has been consulted, it is not a matter for these minority groups above coming up with a scheme that suits them. remember these minority groups represent less than 10 percent of levy payers.
3/02/2015 6:43:09 PM

"At the same time, Australian producers are slowly going broke, last year receiving less than $2/kg for liveweight steers, almost half the returns to US producers for similar stock.” Probably not the best analogy given that our US counterparts only pay a $1.00 per head levy (check-off) unless, of course, the argument is that Australian producers will get double for their liveweight steers if there is a doubling of our $5.00 levy.
Sam Trethewey
4/02/2015 8:48:17 AM

Can we have a little more collaboration and less competition, please.
Bushfire Blonde
4/02/2015 8:50:15 AM

It is only fair that those who pay this compulsory levy should have direct control on - 1) How much the levy costs 2) How the levy money is spent The situation is as simple as that!
The Serf
4/02/2015 10:13:48 AM

everyone should be aware that AMPG, ABA CCP have had meetings with CCA to circumvent the Senate's 7 recommendations; whilst publicly they endorse the 7 Recs. they have agreed “within the tent” to pursue just rec.1 ONLY; have all agreed that all the levy be given to CCA or as a sweetener another cattle/corp; in one document I’ve seen they propose to adopt the MLA voting register as the basis of the new group, presumably with processors intact. All 7 Recs. need implementing; 2,3,4 5,6,7 first and 1 should be the last.
Pete Rothwell
4/02/2015 10:44:04 AM

Why is it that levies are set at a certain rate and then they figure out what to do with the money. Thought it would be a lot better to say we want to research this or promote that and it will cost this much. If cattle producers, grain growers or who ever then agree by a vote then a levy can be collected to do that particular thing. At the moment it seems that so much levy money is wasted on useless reporting/research because they have the money and seem to just have to find ways to spend it.
4/02/2015 12:05:13 PM

Agree with Serf, step one identify levy payers and link levies to identified grassfed livestock producer, Senate recommendation 2 first!! Then plebiscites heading towards recommendation 1. Not what is happening above where it appears that other 6 Senate recommendations are ignored, and accessing the money first appears to be the goal by the minority groups. The seven Senate recommendations work hand in hand with each other and all must be implemented, the vast majority want this!
Frank the Furious Famer
4/02/2015 12:39:24 PM

The Senate did the broad extensive consultation and came up with valid recommendations, its up to Minister Joyce and Dept of Ag to act, not sit on their hands doing nothing while "the industry" tries to just pick and choose which recommendation they support! Come on Barnaby!
Rob Moore
4/02/2015 6:04:26 PM

I feel very strongly that the ausmeat/ampc/rmac inquiry into "Beef Industry Language" be put on hold until this ABOVE matter is resolved! Submissions have to be in in less than two weeks and it is a very secretive setup but I'm fairly sure there is only one producer on the committee! I have evidence that I could submit but not everyone is as crazy as me re - reporting on the same companies that we are forced to sell to. This is Dracula doing an audit on the blood bank imo- very unsatisfactory. The Govt must fund uniform independent graders, AQIS, AHA instead of MLA contribution - all sorted then.
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