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Australian Cattle Council : Yearbook 2008
page 65 C aTTL e COUNCIL OF a USTR a LI a Y ea RBOOK 2008 victorian Farmers Federation Over the past year the vFF has maintained its efforts to ensure that victorian beef producers have a fair and profitable environment to do business in. We have worked on this through both lobbying and working with government and industry. Looking to the year ahead this will continue to be our focus. Yet again we find ourselves referring to the tough year that was, lack of rain, rising input costs and upward pressure from the rising aussie dollar that was faced by those involved in the victorian beef industry. While that may be true I think this is an excellent opportunity to give a pat on the back to all the victorian beef producers that have maintained their herds and kept on doing what they do best, that is growing cattle. The efforts of these producers not only gives benefit to victoria, but also form the base of the supply chain for much of the australian Beef industry, supplying young cattle to farms and feedlots to the north. as part of our future focus the vFF has maintained its involvement in developing the feedlot code of practice. given this industry is at present hampered by high feed prices we realise that the economics of grain feeding can change from year to year. For this reason we see it as being important to have the infrastructure and management of feedlots correctly setup so that they can be sustainable both financially and economically. vFF Livestock has a long running policy of supporting presale weighing and pursuing the development and adoption of a live weight selling code of practice. Both of these goals have the same objective, to provide adequate information to all parties involved in the sale process to be able to have a fair and transparent market process. Our commitment to these policies has been again demonstrated through the going on at the Koonwarra saleyards where via a process of boycotts and bullying a group of processors have turned the yards from pre to post sale weighing. Following strong producer support both locally and from afar, as well as support from other buyers operating in the market we will continue to push for adoption of a code of practice and for producers, who pay the majority of selling costs to have a say in the way their cattle are sold. How the beef industry lobby deals with the issue of climate change and the industries that have evolved around it so as to maintain a fair deal for the beef industry will be an important focus of the coming years. It now seems inevitable that australia will have an emissions trading scheme in place by 2010, however how agriculture deals with and is involved with this process is still up in the air. It is important that decisions are based on science and not the emotive arguments that can so easily cloud the debate. The main goal for the beef industry must be (as is for all agricultural industries) to ensure that it is not disadvantaged either directly or indirectly by any proposed schemes. Finally, off the back of years of widespread drought we have a new issue to take into account, the availability of water. While empty farm dams and lack of irrigation water immediately spring to mind this issue goes well beyond the farm gate. providing water to the other sectors of our industry such as the truck washes, abattoirs and feedlots, needs to be a consideration for the future.