This week I had the great pleasure of joining Cattle Council of Australia, Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) and NSW Farmers Association, as the facilitator of an industry forum in Casino as part of Casino Beef Week http://www.casinobeefweek.com.au.
I love the concept of Casino Beef Week, a whole week, where people from right across the region come together to celebrate ‘Beef’ and the ‘Beef Industry’. The program across the week really has something for everyone, and at the same time provides such a great opportunity for our industry ‘the beef industry’ to deliver and share some key messages with the public, I think that there should be more ‘Beef Weeks’ across Australia!!
At the producer forum held on Tuesday we welcomed over 120 very passionate local beef producers. Changes and opportunities in global and domestic beef marketing was one topic high on the agenda; in Australia we are so reliant, (in fact about 75% of beef produced here is destined for an overseas market) on our overseas markets, that it is important that we are right on top of our game in these areas. We know that consumer trends around the world change, we know that the world economic situation has an impact on buying patterns and we also know all too well that environment and season play a big role in what and how we produce beef, what a challenge to ensure we balance and manage all of these things at once.
Check out this great add, also done by the MLA marketing team http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fXoEZVCsjQ ‘Throw another steak on the barbie’
It was pleasing to hear of all the work that MLA are putting in around the globe to ensure our relationships with all our markets are strong, and that we continue to adapt to the needs to our consumers at the highest possible level. Actually next week, I have the pleasure of experiencing one of these markets first hand, I am off to Japan (our largest beef export destination) on Monday on a beef industry tour, and will be sure to report in on my return.
We also heard about the exciting and mind blowing advances in technology, right along the beef supply chain, from paddock to the plate, wow what an exciting time to be in the beef industry. Before too long we will be checking calving heifers form the back veranda and monitoring pasture growth from the lounge room.
MLA’s Meat Standards Australia (MSA) program was also a high priority on the topic of conversation. Although this program has been around for some time, and provides a great scientific system for grading carcases and meat quality, it has been criticised as not really meeting all objectives for some time. However, excitingly I can report that this is now turning around, we are back to basics with MSA, and it’s a system that is now being used effectively right across the supply chain. I must say that as a beef producer and someone who really believes in the MSA model, it’s great to now really see supermarkets and retailers adopting and using the MSA label to help sell beef. Importantly we know that consumers love beef, but we need to assure them that every time they eat beef, they are going to have a great experience and that exactly what MSA is all about; matching the right beef cut with the right cooking method. Let’s face it, television these days is dominated by cooking shows, and everyone wants to be the master of their own kitchen, and with MSA we can all prepare and enjoy beef with confidence – well done MLA I say – let’s eat more beef!