MLA Annual General Meeting 2017

23 November 2017

More than 400 producers and industry representatives have participated in a packed program of events as part of Meat & Livestock Australia’s (MLA) Red Meat 2017 in Alice Springs, which wrapped up yesterday with the 2017 MLA Annual General Meeting (AGM).

The two-day showcase event for the Australian red meat industry featured a producer tour, business breakfast, industry forums and trade show which highlighted the latest research, innovation and marketing insights.

MLA’s producer forum saw key MLA staff present on the latest innovation developments, market trends and the future direction of MLA’s marketing and R&D programs. The forum also featured a Q&A session with MLA’s General Managers.

To view the presentations from the Forum and MLA AGM, including the key note address from MLA Managing Director Richard Norton, please click here.

The formal proceedings of the AGM included consideration of MLA accounts, the election of three Directors to the Board and three producer representatives to the Board Selection Committee.

MLA members voted on the election of three Directors to the MLA Board – which included the election of two first-time Board Directors (see extended biographies below):

  • Victorian cattle producer and professional services expert in audit, corporate services and risk management Alan Beckett received 80.5% votes in favour
  • Northern cattle production systems specialist and Queensland cattle producer Russell Lethbridge received 86.9% vote in favour
  • South Australian sheepmeat and wool producer, who specialises in sheep and cattle breeding techniques, Andrew Michael received 79% votes in favour.

The MLA Board is a skills-based Board. Directors have complementary skills in order to make important decisions for the long-term benefit of the livestock industry.

MLA members also voted on the election of three producer representatives to the MLA Board Selection Committee – one grassfed cattle representative, one grainfed cattle representative and one sheepmeat representative.

The results were:

  • Mr Peter Quinn as the grassfed cattle representative
  • Mr Tony Fitzgerald as the grainfed cattle representative
  • Mrs Jane Kellock as the sheepmeat representative.

The role of the Selection Committee is to call for applications, review, interview and then report to members on the suitability of candidates for election to the MLA Board.
The Committee is currently made up of two non-voting MLA Directors, three representatives nominated by producer peak councils and four producer members who have been directly elected by MLA members – one sheepmeat, one grainfed cattle and two grassfed cattle representatives.

MLA Chair Dr Michele Allan provided the AGM with an overview of the industry over the last 12 months with a particular focus on the performance of the cattle, sheepmeat and goat markets. While looking at the challenges and opportunities ahead for the industry, Dr Allan also reported on the work of MLA, including the ongoing strengthening of Australia’s critical integrity and traceability systems and the work of MLA Donor Company (MDC) in driving innovation for our industry.

MLA Managing Director Richard Norton reported on the performance of the MLA over the last 12 months, including how the company is meeting the KPIs as set out in the Meat Industry Strategic Plan (MISP) with the ultimate goal of fostering prosperity in Australia’s red meat industry. Mr Norton focussed on the work being undertaken around ensuring we are responding to and meeting consumer demands, including addressing growing consumer demand for a sustainable product and a plan that could see our industry become carbon neutral by 2030.

Elected MLA Board Directors – biographies:

Alan Beckett
Qualifications: B Ec, FICA, GAICD

Mr Beckett runs an Angus breeding and backgrounding operation in Yea, Victoria. He brings 40 years’ experience with a major professional services firm, practising in the area of audit and corporate services to large companies with an emphasis on listed public companies along with practical experience in doing business in Oceania, South-East Asia, China, Japan and India. Mr Beckett is a non-executive director of Defence Health Limited, Westbourne Capital Pty Ltd and Westbourne Credit Management Limited. He is Deputy Chairman of the Department of Defence Audit & Risk Committee and is an independent member of the Audit & Risk Committee of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s wholly owned subsidiary, Note Printing Australia Limited. Mr Beckett is a director of Meat & Livestock Australia Limited, MLA Donor Company Limited and Integrity Systems Company Limited, and is Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee.

Previous roles:
Chairman of ASX listed Basper Limited (formally Berklee Ltd)

Russell Lethbridge
Qualifications: Dip Rural Business Management, Cert Animal Husbandry and Farm Engineering (hons).

Mr Lethbridge with his family runs Werrington Cattle Company, a commercial beef cattle, breeding, growing and fattening enterprise. Werrington has been in the Lethbridge family for 114 years and with the current branch of the family in ownership since 1980. The Werrington business runs over 10,000 head of cattle and comprises a breeding program on 19,500 hectares of natural eucalypt forest country, approximately 250km west of Townsville and 200km north of Hughenden in North Queensland and Rainmore Station, a 27,000 hectare property near Alpha in central Queensland. Mr Lethbridge has a deep understanding of cattle production systems, managing breeder and feeder cattle under extreme environmental conditions and pasture nutrition levels, utilising genetic selection and strategic herd management to achieve production and business success. Mr Lethbridge is Chair of the Hann Highway Action Group, a member of the rural fire board and a member of the Oak Race Club Committee and has been so since 1988.

Previous roles:
Mr Lethbridge was an elected representative on AgForce for seven years beginning as Regional Vice President for the north region, then as Regional President and Board Member and member of AgForce Finance Audit and Risk and Agribusiness Finance Drought and Climate Policy Committees. He was a member of the steering committee for the Northern Gulf Resource Management Group to develop and promote a business improvement package for North Australian cattlemen.

Andrew Michael   
Mr Michael is a fourth generation farmer, working his 1500ha family farm at Snowtown, and over the last 15 years has purchased grazing land in South Australia’s North East Pastoral area and in the South East of SA. Over the last 45 years Mr Michael has built and operated a large scale sheepmeat and wool business that includes both Terminal and Maternal sheep. He has extensive experience in the use of breeding technologies in both the sheep and cattle industries, and over the last 35 years has incorporated all the latest leading edge animal breeding technologies available. He has been a great supporter and user of all the sheep industry groups, including The Sheep CRC – Sheep Genetics – Information Nucleus Flock – and many more. Using these technologies and working with industry groups has contributed greatly to assist him to develop a highly productive business, by breeding some of the top performing sheep for quality red meat production, along with combining high value skins and wools on animals that do not require mulesing (he ceased mulesing in 2004). For many years Mr Michael has had a close association with commercial producers all round Australia, New Zealand and South America, holding presentation and educational field days, along with helping with their marketing and genetic selection programs. Mr Michael is enthusiastic, has a passion for progress and technology and a positive vision for Australia’s sheep flock.

Previous roles:
Andrew Michael has been a member of the Royal Adelaide Show Pastoral Committee having served 22 years, two of which were as President, he has just resigned and finished this role in October 2017. He is a past board member of the Lumeah Trust (aged care facility), having served 15 years. He is a previous member with SA Sheep Disease Management Committee focusing on OJD and Spider Syndrome. Mr Michael was one of the Australian White Suffolk Foundation Committee Members, having served 16 years, two of which were as President. Mr Michael is also an Honorary Life Member and Distinguished Service Award member of the Australian White Suffolk Association.

Elected Board Selection Committee producer representatives – biographies:

Grassfed cattle representative:

Mr Peter Quinn
Mr Quinn has been a grassfed beef producer for over 35 years. He is a third generation beef producer and Managing Director of Essex Grazing Company, based at ‘Essex’, Middlemount, central Queensland. Along with his wife and family, he runs an 8,000 head crossbred breeding and fattening operation across four grazing BMP-accredited properties in central Queensland where the focus is on the sustainable grassfed production of a quality beef article targeting the grassfed MSA, EUCAS and PCAS markets accordingly. Mr Quinn has previously served as a director on AgForce Cattle Board and various other committees relating to the beef industry.

Grainfed cattle representative:

Mr Tony Fitzgerald
Mr Fitzgerald graduated from Emerald Agricultural College in Animal Husbandry and Engineering and has Diplomas in Agriculture and Business Management. He began his career with Stanbroke within the Brahman Breeding division. Mr Fitzgerald then went on to manage the agricultural assets of a Japanese company which undertook mixed farming, cattle breeding, lot feeding and beef processing. During this period, he sat on the Board of the Australian Wagyu Association for five years and was President for two of these. In 2010 Mr Fitzgerald joined Elders Meat &Livestock Trading as Manager of their Killara feedlot at Quirindi, NSW and also sits on the board of Elders Indonesia, a feedlot and meat distribution business. He has been a Director of ALFA since December 2011 and has special responsibilities as Environment Committee Chair, Member of the Executive, Feed Commodities& Nutrition and Feedlot Management Committee.

Sheepmeat representative:

Ms Jane Kellock
Ms Kellock has had a lifetime involvement with the sheep industry and is currently a Director of Kellock Farming. She has been a part of the South Australian Blueprint group and has been selected as the Regional Chair of the South Australian Committee of SAMRC. Ms Kellock has been an active member of the MLA Selection Committee for the past three years, has a good understanding of what is required in a strong board member and what the issues are for the industry.

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