MLA listening to producers at Casino Beef Week
24 May 2016
As part of Casino Beef Week, Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) Managing Director Richard Norton last night participated in a forum of local beef producers to listen firsthand to feedback from producers about the direction of MLA and the broader red meat industry.
The forum - hosted by the Australian Beef Association (ABA) – was an opportunity to discuss face-to-face with levy-paying producers the major issues facing the industry and outline the ongoing work of MLA around research & development and marketing.
MLA is a producer-owned, not-for-profit organisation that delivers research, development and marketing services to Australia's red meat industry – aiming to deliver value to levy payers by investing in initiatives that contribute to producer profitability, sustainability and global competitiveness.
MLA Managing Director Richard Norton said the forum was an opportunity to reinforce MLA’s commitment to increasing engagement and consultation with producers, especially around R&D investment priorities that aim to increase profitability for producers.
Mr Norton said whilst there were some challenges facing the beef industry, there had been positive signs around domestic consumption in the face of significant price increases for beef.
“Beef consumption has been declining in all major western countries over the last decade, however Australians are still one of the world’s largest consumers of beef,” Mr Norton said.
“MLA has identified price, nutrition, taste and versatility are the biggest drivers for consumers purchasing beef. Price is out of the control of MLA, so our strategy has targeted the nutritional benefits of beef.
“The results have been very encouraging, with MLA’s ‘You’re Better On Beef’ campaign – generating very positive results with our target audience of women and families.
“In the face of record beef prices we have seen beef hold its own in the market – slightly increasing its market share against other proteins. The value share of Australian beef retail sales still far outweigh other proteins like chicken, with consumers acknowledging beef’s quality and nutritional benefits.
“MLA has also helped raise consumers’ confidence in beef quality over recent years through our Meat Standards Australia (MSA) program and the results speak for themselves. More consumers are prepared to pay more for beef, more producers are registering for MSA, more cattle are being MSA graded, more brands are becoming MSA licensed and more premiums are being paid.”
Mr Norton said the discussion at the forum built on a recent producer forum hosted by MLA in Casino as part of its regional R&D consultation model with around 70 grassfed cattle producers from the Northern Rivers region.
“It’s clear that MLA has ongoing work to improve how we consult and engage with producers – and how we communicate the work that we are doing in R&D and marketing,” Mr Norton said.
“Producers need to be continually informed of how their levies are being invested back into the industry to try to increase producer profitability – and that’s something MLA is continually focussed on.
“For example, some producers thought that the levy should only be paid once on a beast, but ultimately that would only disadvantage grass fed producers as large finishers and feedlotters would not pay resulting in less investment in R&D and marketing.”
Producers who want to learn more about the work of MLA should visit www.mla.com.au.
Producers are also encouraged to get involved in helping to set MLA’s R&D investment priorities and can do so by visiting http://www.mla.com.au/About-MLA/RD-Consultation.
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