Wednesday, August 5, 2015

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

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".

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