Lessons learned during the pandemic about the value of biosecurity, food safety and traceability in underpinning supply chains have reinforced the strategic planning for the next five years for the red meat industry's marketing and research body.
While Meat & Livestock Australia's Strategic Plan 2025 was well underway prior to COVID-19, the organisation's managing director Jason Strong says there is nothing like a black swan event to test a game plan against.
Discussions about risk were certainly more applied than theoretical, he said.
The plan, released today, charts the direction of MLA investments until 2025 and was developed following significant consultation across the red meat supply chain.
With a focus on delivering 'fewer, bigger and bolder' programs of work, the plan shows where MLA will focus its efforts to ensure red meat producers will see a positive return on their levy investment.
Two key areas have been singled out: adoption and integrity systems.
Strengthening existing systems in support of biosecurity, food safety and traceability and activities that accelerate data capture, end-to-end supply chain verification and knowledge transfer within the supply chain will be a strong focus in coming years for the big service provider.
Mr Strong said the importance of underpinning the security of supply chains with integrity had really been highlighted in the recent challenges red meat suppliers and businesses had faced - not just COVID-19 but droughts, floods and bushfires.
"Being able to manage our way through disruptions is critical to long-term prosperity," he said.
The integrity work would be about continual improvement in an area where the industry already had strong fundamentals, he said.
Supply chains were becoming more sophisticated and the strategy was very much about making sure integrity systems keep up to speed in an era where more and more technology is coming into play.
Meanwhile, the new strategy will see a significant increase in the funds allocated to adoption and extension activities.
This was about getting value out of every levy dollar spent and the plan went as far as using adoption as a measure of whether to invest in projects, Mr Strong said.
Red red meat producers must always be able to successfully implement practical R&D solutions for their farm, the plan says.
"If there is not a clear pathway to adoption, we don't invest," Mr Strong said.
"Broadly, adoption of new technology is low across the board in all of agriculture. A lot is used in some way but very few things are used broadscale."
Mr Strong has an optimistic view of the shape Australia's red meat and livestock industry is in.
"Our products have a reputation for being the best in world," he said.
"We are trusted by consumers - who are more interested than ever in how their food is produced - because of the positive way we treat and trace our livestock."
While MLA's strategy capitalises on the many existing opportunities for Australian red meat, it also looks to tackle new challenges in a constantly-evolving operating environment, he said.
The story Adoption and integrity rate high in MLA's five-year plan first appeared on Farm Online.