A report card released today by the Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC) into the sustainability of the Australian beef industry highlights the major milestones being delivered by producers and demonstrates that consumers can have trust in the way produce is prepared for them from paddock to plate, AgForce Cattle President Will Wilson said.
Mr Wilson added that the 2019 Australian Beef Sustainability Annual Update presents the picture of an industry that cares deeply about people, the land and its livestock.
“This report highlights the role cattle producers play in sustainably managing almost half of the Australian landscape and the significant contribution the sector has made to the national emissions profile and the health of regional and rural communities.
“Producers are in business to provide the food and fibre products that customers want and customers’ expectations about how we produce the food they eat is constantly changing.
“That’s why it’s important we transparently demonstrate to customers and government that our on-farm practices have integrity and that we are continuously improving.”
Mr. Wilson said it was important for the industry to unify its efforts and to demonstrate a self-directed approach.
“Industry already delivers safe, high quality, nutritious products at an affordable price and is committed to continually improving how we do things – a key focus of AgForce’s efforts to Advance Sustainable Agribusiness,” he said.
“The Australian Beef Sustainability Framework takes significant steps in providing evidence base upon which customers can continue to trust us to look after what is important to them, voluntarily and without unnecessary regulation.
“The industry is on track with transitioning to being carbon neutral by 2030 – slashing emissions with a reduction of 56% in the period 2005 – 2016, largely through improving productivity and land management practices by producers.
“This is a clear message to global consumers that the Australian beef industry is serious about addressing greenhouse gas emissions.
“There are a lot of positives to take from the report and some areas that require further improvement and more work.
“This effort deserves greater involvement from AgForce,” Mr Wilson said.
“Improvement requires involvement from whole of industry, and AgForce is keen to be on the front line in unifying our industry’s effort.
“Producers, as environmental stewards, need to engage with the Framework to ensure that the indicators reflect the best environmental outcomes on the ground.
“We are confident about the role of grasslands and cattle in carbon sequestration and biodiversity and see the need to push for more attention in this area.
“Doing this will help facilitate investment into research to determine the beef industry’s current benchmark of emissions versus sequestration.
“The report needs to match AgForce’s current goals to stimulate sustainable on ground practices by producers, instead of the current destructive vegetation legislation with its perverse outcomes.
“The Framework should continue to demonstrate the importance of economic resilience,” Mr Wilson said.
“Sustainability is a consequence of a long-term profitable beef business.”