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Australian Cattle Council : Yearbook 2011
50 YEARBOOK 2011 CATTLE COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA The 10 years of below average rainfall has broken for much of Victoria but it came with floods. Cattle prices at unprecedented highs, but this comes at a time when herd numbers are at a low. However in general I would have to say that the outlook for 2011 is positive. 2011 will be a year of changes at the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF). VFF has a new state government to work with and following constitutional changes we will have changes to our membership structure. We are also looking to grow our membership, while at the same time maintain our relevance to current members. In commenting on the floods the direct impact on Victoria’s beef industry was minimal. However the impact to the state through loss of livestock, crops and infrastructure, and flow on effects to the surrounding communities will be felt for some time. The VFF is continuing to assist members, as well as the rest of the farming community to rebuild and restock following these floods. From the livestock producers perspective we have not seen Victoria set for such a good season for a number of years. Writing this year’s annual report to CCA presents a bit of a challenge, as in Victoria right now the glass is both half empty and half full. Soil moisture profiles and early season pasture growth is as good as it has been for years and all indicators are pointing at the cattle prices we are seeing now sticking around for some time. This represents an excellent opportunity for livestock producers who have stayed in the industry through the tough times to capitalise on their hard work. We believe that the future for beef production in Victoria is looking bright. Two key reasons for this are the types of cattle and production systems in place, and the world’s appetite for Australian beef. We see the growth in value of the European Union market, especially the new 40,000t grain fed quota as being a good thing for Victorian producers with the type of cattle being produced and low levels of Hormone Growth Promotants (HGP) usage making Victorian beef an ideal fit for this market. The VFF will continue to support this market and encourage producers to get accredited for this program. Even if your cattle don’t go directly to the EU we are seeing market signals from other customers that this is the kind of product they want. Access to Victoria’s high country for cattle grazing will continue to be an issue. We are supportive of the state governments desire to reintroduce grazing to the high country and are extremely disappointed by the Federal Government’s intervention. We will continue to support high country grazing and look forward to it going beyond being just a research trial to give some certainty back to the cattle businesses that graze those areas. It is important to remember that this is as much about public land management as it is about grazing. The VFF Livestock Council continues to support the democratic representation at a national level for the beef industry where all states and production zones have input into the national beef agenda and this equality between states must be preserved. We see that there will continue to be challenges in maintaining this support in the coming year. While finances will be a key part of that challenge the VFF will need to feel that we are able to effectively represent the interests of Victorian producers to encourage us to meet these challenges. The beef industry’s importance to Victoria is growing and accordingly the VFF Livestock group is committed to supporting this development and growth. The following Victorian Farmers' Federation VFF LIVESTOCK GROUP