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Australian Cattle Council : Yearbook 2009
CA TTLE COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA YEARBOOK 2009 VFF. Providing this much needed service, under strained organisational resources, was testimony to the strength and vigour of the VFF and demonstrated the value of the organisation to all Victorians. The harmonisation of regulations between states has been a focus of Federal Government and Industry’s attention for the past 12 months. SFO’s role in this process is ensuring that local conditions receive adequate recognition by national decision makers and to ensure issues raised progress to a national level. The beef cattle industry has set an agenda in this area by developing a series of industry programs which bypass the state borders for the benefit of beef producers. Industry programs include, the Meat Standards Australia grading system Livestock Production Assurance and companion NVD systems and the National Residue System. These all came about to capture and retain the all-important export markets. The cattle industry is due some accolades in this regard. It is one of the most organised and disciplined industries in its ability to respond to market requirements. Exporting to high value markets has meant relatively consistent returns and stable prices domestically. As a result, the recent droughts have not had the debilitating effect on breeding herd numbers they once did. For example, in the past, poor seasons would push a flood of animals onto the market and prices suffered accordingly. The long running Hahnheuser feed contamination case is drawing to a close, with VFF’s work on this case representing an important win for the live export industry. The VFF’s support of this case was crucial to ensure the activist who contaminated the feed for a load of sheep bound for the Middle East could not claim that they were protecting the environment and therefore not liable for any damages caused by actions. The impacts of this case will set an important precedent in the Trade Practices act for all Australian farmers, not only those involved in the live export trade. Another key imperative for the Australian beef industry and VFF is maintaining the clean residue status of beef entering the food chain. This can only be achieved with continued support for industry standards for the whole-oflife of cattle, whether bobby calves in a dairy or beef cattle in a paddock. Every sector of the supply chain, including the dairy industry, must recognise its wider responsibilities to the beef industry and indeed the greater community by ensuring food safety and animal welfare standards are of a high standard. Looking forward, the beef marketing levy is due for review this year. I feel strongly that this deserves our continued support and the $1.50 marketing levy should be maintained. Meat and Livestock Australia has proven itself to manage industry funds to deliver maximum returns to the producer. The marketing levy enables industry to develop new markets, which is vital for a sustainable and growing industry. For the next twelve months I see a clear trend emerging in the VFF Livestock group’s efforts, largely directed towards ensuring market access for our members. Issues will include animal welfare, food security and biosecurity in addition to many industry codes of practice. I believe these issues are common to all states and therefore will also be a future focus for the Cattle Council of Australia. Leonard Vallance VFF Livestock Cattle Council Executive 67 1117_CCA Yearbook 2009.indd 67 5/5/09 8:01:28 PM