Monday, December 7, 2015

Grass Fed Cattle Levy Senate Inquiry Recommendations and Price Transparency in the Australian Beef Industry


The release of the Seven Recommendations arising from the Senate Inquiry into grass-fed cattle levy funded
structures and systems last year was a watershed moment in the long debate over the changes that need to be made 
to the grass fed cattle organisational structures to meet the needs of the Australian grass-fed cattle industry in the 
21st century.

The seventh and final Recommendation of the Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport arising from the Senate Inquiry into Grass Fed Cattle Levy Industry Structures and Systems seems to have garnered the least attention from the industry.

Please click here to view the rest of the article.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

HuntBlog Newsletter: Has Barnaby Left the Door Open for Grass Fed Cattle Structural Reform by Plebiscite?

Following years of agitation for Red Meat Industry organisational reform by:
• the Australian Beef Association (ABA),
• the Australian Meat Producers Group think tank (AMPG),
• the hugely attended cattle producer forums in Roma in 2004, Armidale and Paradise Lagoons in 2010 which Minister Joyce either attended or spoke at, and
• agitation from the cash strapped Cattle Council of Australia (CCA) for access to some of the grass fed cattle transaction levies to provide it with the necessary funding to enable it to carry out its functions under the current red meat industry organisational structure,

the Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce at a meeting with cattle producers in Townsville in early November 2013 agreed to call for a Senate Inquiry into the current grass fed cattle levy funded structures and systems. Minister Joyce advised the Townsville cattle producer meeting that it was time that the decade long cattle industry debate over organisational reform was brought to a head one way or another. Minister Joyce counselled those present that they would have to accept the findings of the Senate Inquiry as binding whatever they happened to be and that if the Senate Inquiry findings went against the cattle producers calls for reform they would need to accept those findings as “the umpire’s verdict”.

Please click here to view the rest of the article.

HuntBlog Newsletter: Preserving MLA

The Federal Government’s 15 July 2015 initial response to the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee report on grass fed cattle levies rejected implementation of that part of the Senate Committee’s recommendation which called for the formation of a grass fed cattle levy producer owned body that had the authority to receive and disperse all of the grass fed cattle transaction levies.

Please click here to view the rest of the article.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

HuntBlog newsletter: Use of levy funds by representative bodies

The Senate Inquiry Report into grass fed cattle levy funded structures and systems handed down last October produced seven interlocking recommendations aimed at enabling the grass fed cattle industry to meet its collective needs for the next decade or two.

The Federal Government Response to the Senate Inquiry seven interlocking recommendations published in Beef Central on 15 July 2015 adopted only one of the seven Senate inquiry recommendations in full and ruled out the key recommendation that the proposed new grass fed cattle producer body to replace the cash strapped Cattle Council of Australia (CCA) be given authority to manage all cattle transaction levies. 

Please click here to view the rest of the article.

HuntBlog Newsletter: The need to strengthen Australian rural industry advocacy

16 October 2014

The recently published Senate Committee report into the industry structures and systems governing levies on grass fed cattle and the State Farmer Organisation based Australian Farm Institute (AFI) published in March 2014 has underlined the urgent need for Australian rural industries to review and reform their rural advocacy structures. 

Please click here to view the rest of the article.

Australian Government response to the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee report: Inquiry on industry structures and systems governing levies on grass-fed cattle

Please click the link below to access the Federal Government's response to the Senate Inquiry on industry structures and systems governing grass-fed cattle levies:

http://www.agriculture.gov.au/SiteCollectionDocuments/about/reporting/reports-tabled-in-parliament/inquiry-industry-structures-levies-grass-fed-cattle.pdf

Cattle producers present industry preferences for new grass-fed beef levy system

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-17/grass-fed-cattle-producers-present-levy-proposal-to-government/6129590

Beef producers want a new representative body, specifically for grass-fed beef farmers.
Beef industry excited by Cataby abattoir plans
18 February 2015
The industry has delivered its preferred model for research and development levy collection and spending to Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce.
The proposal includes the creation of a new representative body.
There would be direct membership for levy-paying graziers, with voting processes still to be determined.
The new body would include a 15-member policy council, overseen by a board that would include two skills-based representatives.
A president appointed by the board, chair and policy council would serve a two-year term.
In a statement, Cattle Council president Howard Smith said the proposal was the "united position" of the industry.
Mr Smith said it was developed "through consultation with all state farming organisations, the Northern Pastoral Group, the Australian Beef Association, the Australian Meat Producers Group, Concerned Cattleman and other red meat peak councils".
"We believe the recommended structure provides an opportunity for all Australian beef producers to be represented and have their voices heard, along with ensuring that the organisation is adequately funded," he said.
Mr Joyce asked producer representatives to come up with the proposal for future levy collection and spending, after a Senate rural affairs committee inquiry found that while grass-fed beef producers pay the vast bulk of research, development and marketing levies into Meat and Livestock Australia, only a fraction of that is actually spent on that sector.
Describing the "unified proposal" as "a historic and essential contribution", the Agriculture Minister said the meeting was the next step towards reform.
"It has been a long journey that many thought we would never take and many more thought we would never reach a destination," Mr Joyce said.
"Throughout this entire process, the Australian Government has been committed to listening to as many voices as possible within the sector and to ensure that any potential changes to industry structures enjoyed the overwhelming support of grass-fed levy payers across the country."
Mr Joyce said he would now consider the detail of the proposal, but warned producers that change "is not as simple as the flick of a pen".
He said he expected to make a formal response to the Senate Inquiry's seven recommendations, taking into account the industry's proposal, "in the coming months".

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Grass Fed Cattle Industry Profitability and the Need for Industry Organisational Reform

Hunt Blog Newsletter: Grass Fed Cattle Industry Profitability and the Need for Industry Organisational Reform

The Push for Reform

The February 2010 Armidale Beef Forum in Armidale in northern New South Wales attended by over 1,000 disgruntled cattle producers lit the match for meaningful cattle industry organisational reform to reverse the unsustainable long term decline in grass fed cattle industry profitability. A fire was fanned by the subsequent New Directions Beef Forum attended by over 500 prominent beef producers and held in August 2010 at the Acton family’s property Paradise Lagoons near Rockhampton.

During the ensuing years much discussion and debate has occurred within the cattle industry generally and the Cattle Council of Australia in particular regarding the reforms needed to meet the 21st century collective needs of the grass fed cattle industry.

Please click here to view the full article,

Friday, March 20, 2015

Discussion Paper Flags "Mood for Change" over Beef Trading Language

http://www.cattlelevysenateinquiryinformation.com/apps/blog/show/43184499-discussion-paper-flags-mood-for-change-over-beef-trading-language


Please click on the above link to view article

McCamley Sustains Drive for Carcass Language Change

http://www.beefcentral.com/news/mccamley-sustains-drive-for-carcase-language-change/


Please click on the above link to view article

Influence the Future of Beef Language

http://www.beefcentral.com/news/influence-the-future-of-beef-language/

Please click on the above link to view article

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

HUNT BLOG NEWSLETTER
25 February 2015
Grass Fed Cattle Industry On The Cusp of Historic Reform

Federal Agriculture Minister Joyce met with representatives of the AMPG, CCP, ABA and CCA in Canberra on Tuesday 17 February 2015 to receive a unified grass fed cattle industry position on a proposal to form a new levy funded grass fed cattle producer representative corporation (“Newco”).

Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce described the unified grass fed cattle representative restructure proposal as an historic and essential contribution to the implementation of the structural reforms recommended by the recent Senate Committee Inquiry into grass fed cattle levy funded structures and systems.


Click here to view the full article.


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Fletcher calls for new sheep body

To view larger image, right click on image and select open image in new tab. Click on article to zoom.


Grassfed group launches social media campaign

By James Nason, 03 February 2015

http://www.beefcentral.com/news/grassfed-group-launches-social-media-campaign/

A group describing itself as a cattle industry think tank has launched a social media campaign urging the grassfed cattle industry to get behind moves to create a new cattle corporation to replace the Cattle Council of Australia.

The group, which uses the title the “Australian Meat Producers Group”, issued a media release to launch the campaign on Tuesday.

AMPG spokesperson, Central Queensland cattle producer Cameron McIntyre, said the group is voicing industry calls for agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce to implement the recommendations of the Senate Inquiry into grassfed cattle industry structures and levy arrangements, handed down in September last year.

The Senate committee’s first recommendation was for a producer owned body to be established by legislation with the authority to receive and disperse all grassfed levy revenue, which is currently received and managed by Meat & Livestock Australia, under the Cattle Council of Australia’s oversight. The committee recommended that “reforming CCA to achieve these outcomes” should be examined as part of the process.

The AMPG wants to see the CCA replaced entirely by a new Grass Fed Cattle Corporation which would receive all grass fed cattle transaction levies, with board members directly elected by levypayers.

Groups in favour of that position say it is the only way to ensure grassfed producers receive full control over the expenditure of their grassfed levies. A common concern voiced by grassfed producers to the recent Senate Inquiry was that sectors other than grassfed sector had too much influence over how MLA spends grassfed levies.

Opponents of the plan which include most, if not all, post-farmgate sectors of the beef industry supply chain say that removing grassfed levy revenue from MLA would effectively destroy that organisation’s ability to operate and would have major impacts on their sectors, upon which the grassfed sector relies to value add, process and market its end product.

The Cattle Council of Australia’s initial view to the inquiry was that relatively minor tweaks were required to existing structures to ensure growers recieved the level of control over grassfed levies they expect. The measures supported by CCA included allowing a portion of the grassfed levy revenue to be redirected to CCA to improve its resourcing and capacity to provide professional oversight of MLA, while it also called for the Memorandum of Understanding between MLA and CCA be strengthened to compel MLA to act on CCA’s instructions on grassfed levy expenditure. Under the existing MOU, MLA is only required to meet with CCA, not necessarily to do what CCA tells it to do.

In the wake of the Senate Inquiry’s recommendations, CCA sent out a letter to other industry groups indicating that it had changed its position in order to allow the grassfed sector to move forward with a consensus position, and supported the concept of the full levy being paid to a reformed version of CCA – the major reform being a change from a board dominated by State Farm Organisation appointed directors to a board of fully independently elected directors representing each cattle producting region.

However, since that position was made known it has attracted significant opposition from the downstream sectors of the chain.

CCA is yet to publicly clarify where it now stands.

In the meantime groups like ABA and the AMPG are now using a social media campaign to ramp up support for their favoured position that a new body be established to manage the grassfed levy.

The AMPG also involves Sydney solicitor and long-time cattle industry Norman Hunt.

Its social media campaign via a Facebook Page and Twitter account is directing producers to visit the website www.cattlelevysenateinquiryinformation.com established by the Australian Beef Association.

“Minister Joyce is to be congratulated for his leadership in acting (by establishing the Senate Inquiry) on the failures of the current system,” Mr McIntyre said.

“In 2013-14, grass fed cattle producers made up $61.5M of Meat and Livestock Australia’s $117.5M levy income. But despite contributing more than half of the income, grass fed producers received very little of MLA’s output.

“At the same time, Australian producers are slowly going broke, last year receiving less than $2/kilo 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.

“Cattle producers desperately need a well-resourced, accountable body with a sharp focus on improving profit in the industry. In short, we need to follow through on the Senate Committee recommendations for a Grass Fed Cattle Corporation directing its energies towards strategies that restore the future of grass-fed beef production in Australia,” he said.

Other recommendations from the Senate Inquiry included the need for an automated cattle transaction levy collection system, and other measures to ensure a transparent, well-funded advocacy and policy setting body charged with market development programs including providing market data and information that puts local producers on an equal footing with their US counterparts.

At a closed industry meeting in Brisbane prior to Christmas, the Minister gave Cattle Council of Australia until mid-February to return to him with advice on options for representation of the grassfed industry by the council.

The Department of Agriculture was also instructed at that meeting to look at the Memorandum of Understanding between MLA and CCA to assess the capacity it currently provides for all relevant grassfed industry groups to provide input to the activities of MLA. He also asked the Department to look at various funding mechanisms to enhance the capability of relevant industry groups.

The Minister has also made it clear throughout the restructure process that if possible he wants all grassfed groups to come to him with a united position on restructure, rather than having to impose a decision himself on a divided industry.

CCA and ABA are expected to meet again privately next week to discuss their positions and whether common-ground exists in their position.

As the mid-February deadline approaches, the AMPG says it and other cattle producing representative bodies are voicing support for:
the adoption of the Senate Inquiry recommendations;
The establishment of Grass Fed Cattle Corporation with a voting structure that gives producers direct input into the new Corporation’s direction and annual programs; and
A Memorandum of Understanding to be drawn up which supports an effective and full transition of grass fed cattle producer levies to the new Corporation.

“When Minister Joyce agreed to initiate the Senate Committee Inquiry at a meeting of cattle producers in Townsville last year, he stated that it was time that the long debate over grass fed cattle levy funded representation was resolved and that cattle producers would have to be content to abide by the Senate committee umpires ruling on the changes that needed to be made.

“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,” said Mr McIntyre.

“There can be no doubt that this is a life-or-death development for many cattle producers – so we are urging industry to join with the AMPG and other like-minded cattle industry representative bodies via our web, facebook and twitter outreach cattlelevysenateinquiryinformation.com to give the Minister all the support we can to get these recommendations through Cabinet and into reality.”

Grassfed campaign hits social media


MARK PHELPS
03 Feb, 2015 09:40 AM


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 www.cattlelevysenateinquiryinformation.com 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.

CCA must be 'truly representative'


cca-must-be-truly-representative/2677361.aspx?storypage=008



MATTHEW CAWOOD

Nov, 2013 02:00 AM

QUEENSLAND livestock agent Tim McHugh had an idea that last week broke a dam of pent-up frustration over the collection and distribution of beef cattle levies.

Mr McHugh organised a group of Queensland graziers, agents and transport industry representatives to put their case for a review of the levy system to Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce in Townsville last Thursday.

The next day, Mr Joyce unofficially announced his intention to seek a Senate inquiry into beef levy disbursement.

Within a few hours, the meeting had advanced an issue that has been festering within sectors of the industry for years.

Mr McHugh said he has had a long-standing respect for Mr Joyce. When the former Queensland senator became Agriculture Minister, he conceived the idea of a meeting outside the usual cattle industry structures to discuss the vexed question of levies.

The opportunity to put Mr Joyce in the same room with some articulate members of the beef industry was presented by last week's Livexchange 2013 conference in Townsville. Mr McHugh took it.

"It's a good result," said Mr McHugh, a partner in the Hogan and McHugh agency in Townsville, of Monday's official announcement that Mr Joyce had approached the Senate with the proposal.

"At the end of the day, the basic structures that are in place will stay in place. What my clients are looking for is more accountability and transparency. And the election process is very convoluted."

The Townsville group told Mr Joyce that it believed Cattle Council (CCA) should be "truly representative" of Australia's grazing industry, including having full control of all levies collected from graziers and allocation of those levies.

"We also need leadership. We need a good strong corporate person with political connections and influence to head up Cattle Council and our industry," Mr McHugh said.

In Mr McHugh's view, former Liberal leader John Hewson had the right credentials for the job in the years after Mr Hewson left politics.

"Obviously the CCA board has to be made up of industry people, but the head of the board doesn't need to be a cattleman, in my view. They need business acumen along with good business and political connections, and the ability to delegate."

Much has to happen before Mr McHugh and his colleagues see whether their ideas are realised - first and foremost, whether the Senate takes up the inquiry, and what terms of reference it sets around it.