2016 was a landmark year for the AMPC and the industry we serve. With Australia’s herd at a 20 year low and cattle prices at record highs, the challenges for members were clear. But, our industry has always responded well in times of adversity and this year was no different.
To take advantage of the opportunities that exist for our sector, we first need to better understand the key risks areas. Based on comprehensive research, we identified them as follows:
- International Competitiveness;
- The regulatory environment;
- Value Chain Integration;
- Changing Consumer Patterns;
- Social Licence to Operate; and
- Climate Change
Our first ever sustainability report, A Feast of Ideas, was designed to put these risks on the table and get the conversation started.
In fact, much of the year’s research projects were aimed at addressing these risks. Over the course of the year, we funded and managed over 80 projects.
Some of our R&D highlights included:
· Environmental projects such as investigating methods to enhance waste water management and recycling;
· Food Safety and Meat Science projects like developing a Disease and Contamination Image Library and looking at innovations in Race and Knocking Box Design to Optimise Animal Welfare and Carcase Quality;
· Evaluating processing automation utilising Internet of Things technology and investigating wearable technology applications;
· Education and training programs and research into the socio-economic benefits of red meat processing for regional communities.
While our core focus has been R&D, we’ve been more active in making sure our industry has a strong voice on important issues.
We provided submissions into the Senate Inquiry and the ACCC’s market study into beef and cattle, in particular, taking a proactive position to counter allegations of anti-competitive conduct which were unwarranted and unsupported.
More recently, we’ve adopted a strong position alongside AMIC in responding to animal welfare issues. A proactive response – both from an education and training perspective but also via the media, is critical to protecting our industry’s social license to operate.
During October, we were pleases participate in a tour of western Queensland organised by Senator Barry O’Sullivan to speak with processors and producers. Representatives from MLA, AMIC, RMAC and a number of journalists also took part.
Hopefully you’ve noticed a change in the way we engage and communicate with you and in how we present ourselves externally. The fact that I am sending this end of year message via video, highlights our new, more dynamic approach.
The year culminated in our inaugural conference at the end of November in Sydney. We called it ‘A Vital Ingredient’ to reflect the meat processor’s fundamental role in securing a sustainable red meat industry. More than 160 delegates came to listen to 35 speakers from around the globe, address topics related to the six key risks identified in our Sustainability Report.
Our new social media strategy has seen us further engage with our audiences and create positive dialogue. Our Facebook post reach jumped from 67 to 36,099, Tweet impressions went from 204 to 28,600 and LinkedIn impressions rose from 491 to 5,530. Over sixty media stories, with an equivalent advertising value of over $630,000, were published as a direct result of our conference and importantly shed light on key issues impacting our industry.
Looking ahead, we are determined to maintain the positive momentum.We are well advanced in our search for a new Chief Executive Officer and are collaborating more effectively with other key industry stakeholders. One area where this will be crucial is around objective carcase measurement technology – we will ensure that our members are properly consulted with on its feasibility and implementation.We are all in this together so the more we can be unified in our approach; the more effective we can be in building a stronger industry.
The AMPC team would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family best wishes for the festive season.