MLA AGM: Red meat facing ‘unprecedented global demand’


Beef Central (Australia)

November 20, 2020


MEAT & Livestock Australia’s 2020 annual general meeting, the first conducted fully online due to COVID-19 restrictions, resulted in the re-election of three directors to the levy-funded producer service organisation’s board on Thursday.


Victorian cattle producer, professional services expert in audit, corporate services and risk management and current MLA Chair Alan Beckett received 78.3% votes in favour.


Northern cattle production systems specialist and Queensland cattle producer Russell Lethbridge received 82.8% vote in favour.


South Australian sheepmeat and wool producer, who specialises in sheep and cattle breeding techniques, Andrew Michael received 79.3% votes in favour.


Three producer representatives were also elected to the MLA Board Selection Committee, with Daniel Radel elected as the cattle producer representative with 62.3% in favour; Tony Fitzgerald elected as the lot feeder cattle representative with 87.4% in favour and Mark Wootton elected as the sheep producer representative with 97.3% in favour.


The role of the Selection Committee is to call for applications, review, interview and then report to members on the suitability of candidates for election to the MLA Board.


MLA Chair Alan Beckett provided the AGM with an overview of the industry over the past 12 months which was a period of significant challenge and disruption.


“As we reflect on the last 12 months, COVID-19 and its impact on all industries hangs large, but the Australian red meat sector has fared well through this pandemic,” Mr Beckett said.


“Most importantly, we saw the demand for red meat remain strong – both domestically and globally – despite the changes to consumption patterns.


“A key focus for MLA this year has been to ensure we are able to respond and adapt to the significant challenges of 2020 and our new operating environment – while continuing to deliver on our strategic objectives across our marketing, research and development investments on behalf of our industry.”


Industry’s biggest challenge is unity


MLA Managing Director Jason Strong outlined the strong position of Australia’s red meat industry, and the positive outlook.


“After enduring drought, fire, floods and a global pandemic, the Australian red meat industry has emerged in fantastic shape with a very promising outlook,” Mr Strong said.


“Australian red meat is highly regarded around the world – our reputation for delivering on eating quality, traceability, sustainability, food safety and taste is second to none, and can only serve to strengthen our outlook further.


“With a forecast protein shortage across the globe driven by African Swine Fever and demand set to grow at unparalleled levels as consumers become increasingly affluent, we are looking at a three to five-year window of untold prosperity.


“As an industry our biggest challenge is how the red meat and livestock industry can be more united in seizing the opportunity this unprecedented global demand for protein provides.”


Mr Strong said the industry is sophisticated and forward-thinking and sharing its story to consumers has never been more important.


“MLA will continue to protect and promote your credentials as red meat producers and proud custodians of our land and livestock, but we will do so with maturity and perspective, backed up by facts and insights,” Mr Strong said.


“Our consumers want natural and nutritious food – and care more than ever about how it’s produced. Our reputation in this regard in unrivalled and we should be confident in sharing our collective story.”


Biographies of elected MLA Board Directors: