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OPINION: Room for improvement on red meat representation

Opinion
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NSW Farmers has a preliminary position on the red meat industry's representation.

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NSW Farmers has a preliminary position on the red meat industry's future advocacy, research and marketing structure.

In response to the Red Meat Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) Review, which seeks to streamline current industry arrangements, NSW Farmers has released 13 key principles summarising its view.

The principles are based on feedback from our members after an association-wide survey last year.

The results indicate most farmers believe the current system is working well, but it could be improved.

The survey results insist the red meat industry's structure must be simple, understandable and promote producer engagement.

There is clear support for continuing the livestock levy system, and for each commodity to have autonomy over its decision-making.

The preservation of the Meat & Livestock Australia brand is also valued, given its strong reputation in overseas markets.

In terms of what a new MoU can deliver, NSW Farmers supports greater investment in industry-funded extension programs and creating a levy-funded entity to house the red-meat food safety and integrity programs that guarantee market access.

It also supports more funding for agile, proactive and dynamic policy development.

NSW Farmers is urging other industry organisations to formalise their positions on the MoU so there is clarity about where organisations stand.

A request has been made to the Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC), the entity responsible for the Red Meat MoU review, that the review process to be delayed in light of the disruption caused by COVID-19.

It is important robust consultation occurs.

NSW Farmers acknowledges this is only the beginning of reform and more work is needed before anything is finalised.

We need a clearer vision to restructure the red meat industry.

Derek Schoen is chairman of the NSW Farmers' cattle committee

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