Demystifying the myths surrounding organic meat production was a key component of Australian Organic Limited's (AOL) Emerging Market Opportunities seminar at Beef Australia 2021.
Industry leaders, Paul da Silva, marketing and innovation director for Arcadian Organic and Natural Meat Co, Doug McNicholl, program manager for Sustainability Innovation, Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) and Niki Ford, CEO, AOL, took the opportunity as part of a panel-style presentation to also highlight the value of a carbon-positive beef supply chain.
Owen Gwilliam, chief technical officer, AOL, completed the line-up which shared unique perspectives on the opportunities and growing demand for organic beef. Mr Gwilliam said organic beef production provided an important portion of the $2 billion contribution the broader organic sector made to the Australian economy each year.
"The organic industry has had double digit growth figures, consecutively, for the last 20 years," he said. "We know beef is one of the most nutritious foods we can eat and now consumer interest in how food is produced is increasingly driving demand towards meat grown under an organic production system."
"This is an exciting opportunity for the Australian beef industry to build on its existing clean and green credentials, and to further position itself as one of the world's best sources of high-quality organic produce."
Mr Gwilliam said the seminar provided a forum for producers to gain valuable information about the path to organic certification, including what this means from a practical, on-farm perspective.
"The transition to organic production does require some change in practices, however this process does not need to be overwhelming as it can be undertaken in small stages," he said.
"There are a number of misconceptions that can make organic production seem more difficult to implement than it is. For example, many people do not realise that a property can be made up of both organic and non-organic land and that organic and non-organic livestock can be run side-by-side. There is also the belief sick animals cannot be treated, however our organic standard prioritises animal welfare and demands that unwell stock are given what they need."
MLA's Doug McNicholl discussed ways producers could meet market demand through carbon farming.
"Consumers and the community are looking to businesses and brands to demonstrate environmental stewardship credentials. The Australian beef industry is well positioned to meet this growing desire through adoption of technologies and practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a way that promotes long-term productivity and profitability," he said.