Australian meat industry ups the steaks

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, has launched the Meat Industry Strategic Plan 2020, which frames the strategic focus of all aspects of the production, processing and live export sectors of Australia’s beef, sheepmeat and goatmeat supply chain for the future.

Minister Joyce said the plan would put the red meat sector in a strong position to take advantage of extremely favourable international conditions.

“2015 is a great time to be an Australian red meat producer, global demand is booming, prices are high and the dollar is low,” Minister Joyce said.

“These favourable conditions create a springboard for the red meat industry to advance and build an even stronger future—but it is essential the industry takes the lead in understanding its dynamics and setting its own direction.

“This plan is a great example of an industry showing that commitment—and bringing together businesses and producers from across the supply chain in these sectors is a significant achievement.

“This is a government that sees and truly appreciates these efforts. We’re equally committed to a prosperous red meat sector. It’s a sector that supports rural and regional communities across the country.

“Through the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper this government has set out its vision for a more profitable agriculture sector—an investment in the future of agriculture to the tune of $4 billion.

“The White Paper sets aside a further $100 million for the Rural R&D for Profit Programme, to fund innovative research partnerships up to 2020-21—this on top of the almost $50 million the government provided to red meat R&D last financial year.

“We know trade underpins the profitability of the red meat sector—Australia exported more than $13 billion of red meat and offal to 123 countries in 2014-15.

“That’s why we’ve allocated $30.8 million to boost access to premium markets overseas and appoint five new agricultural counsellors in key markets.

“In addition to the three free trade agreements signed with some of our biggest trading partners, this government has also brokered access to seven new livestock markets; most recently China.

“On top of these investments in the future, we also know some red meat producers are struggling in the present.

“Severe drought can place stress and strain on even well-prepared and resilient producers and communities. That’s why there is a further $2.97 billion available to support farmers and rural communities to strengthen drought preparedness and risk management, as well as provide in-drought support when times are tough.

“We see these initiatives as an investment in a sector that continues to generate significant wealth for the Australian economy—it’s estimated total farm production will hit over $52 billion in 2014-15.

“A strong industry is one that is able to harness its resources and work together cooperatively—and I commend the industry for doing just that. This plan puts the red meat sector in the best possible position to take advantage of available opportunities and continue to prosper.”

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