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MLA Strategic Plan 2025: The cattle perspective

16 April 2020

Consultation with industry is a critical component in the development of MLA’s five-year Strategic Plan. Throughout our strategy development, we’ve been using different models to ensure we capture the voice of our stakeholders.

In the previous article, we took a look at some of the key priorities for the sheep supply chain that were explored in an MLA strategy workshop held last month.

MLA held a similar workshop with representatives from across the cattle supply chain to explore their priorities for the next five years, within the context of MLA’s strategic planning co-design framework.

Here is an overview of what they told us were some of their key issues. During the workshop, each of these issues was examined to better understand the problem the sector was trying to solve.

Original issue

Problem to be solved

(as per the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework definition)

How do we ensure there is a shared industry definition of sustainability and a shared understanding of its importance as well as the opportunities and risks it presents?

(covering livestock, grain, water, price of inputs, enabling increased production)

How can we maintain consistency of supply by building resilience to external factors that are within our control?

Market access

Market access is complex, how can we better track signals and trends across markets and respond with a united industry voice?

Access to skilled, capable workforce

The lack of desirability of our industry could limit growth and future productivity.​How can we address perceptions in Australia about the industry being unattractive?

Integrity, biosecurity, quality assurance systems

How do we ensure the supply chain has a shared understanding of the value and importance of our integrity, biosecurity and quality assurance systems?

Increasing adoption, enabling best practice change

How do we embed adoption into research and development and encourage leadership by example?

Reframing the issues in this way enabled the participants to then explore potential solutions to address these problems.

Some of the ideas and solutions that were proposed and discussed during the workshop include:

  • embedding the voice of our customers and consumers in research and development
  • understanding the skills the industry will need for the future and showcasing career opportunities to students
  • making people our asset by leveraging the power of producer champions and advocates to demonstrate the benefits and value of practice change
  • exploring business models to enable producers to earn revenue through delivery of environmental services, which would also help to drive practice change
  • research into understanding where the opportunities are for red meat as an ingredient so that we can extract more value from the carcase
  • ensuring fit for market production by defining profit drivers and optimising by region
  • expanding our systems to be all encompassing so that they can deliver trust to our consumers around quality of product and production.

A clear theme emerging from the workshop was the importance of industry leadership in demonstrating the need and value of practice change.

The priorities, issues and outcomes from the workshop will be considered, along with those from other red meat stakeholders, in relation to MLA’s purpose, and will form an input into the development of the MLA Strategic Plan 2025.

Using the industry’s strategic plan, Red Meat 2030 (refer to ‘More information below’), as its foundation, MLA draws on input from a number of sources to inform its own strategy, including:

  • the Australian Government’s Rural Research, Development and Extension Priorities
  • the Australian Government’s Science and Research Priorities
  • stakeholder consultation
  • MLA market and industry trend data
  • other reports and data that provide insight on the current and future operating environment, including the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment commissioned Agricultural Innovation—A national approach to grow Australia’s future.

In the next edition of Friday Feedback, we will explore the issues and outcomes identified during a similar workshop held with members of the cattle industry supply chain.

Have your say

Over the past few weeks MLA has shared what we believe will be the focus areas within our next Strategic Plan and has sought your thoughts on these.

Specifically for the cattle sector, we would like to know:

Do you agree that the areas outlined in this article reflect the key challenges for the cattle industry?
Do you have further suggestions for solutions to address these challenges?

Have your say by emailing your response to