New industry peak organisation to lead sheep and lamb industry

A new era of leadership in advocacy and governance for the sheep industry started yesterday as Sheep Producers Australia officially became the peak industry body for the nation’s sheep and lamb industry, replacing the former Sheepmeat Council of Australia.

The council was first established in 1978 and was wound up after nearly 40 years of representing farmers on national sheep and lamb industry issues. The change to SPA has enabled the council to modernise its operations to better serve Australian sheep producers as well as continuing to reflect contemporary governance standards.

The first Annual General Meeting of Sheep Producers Australia endorsed its five board candidates including Michael Craig, Harrow, Victoria; Jamie Heinrich, Kangaroo Island, SA; Ian McColl, Koorawatha, NSW; Bindi Murray, Woodanilling, WA; and Allan Piggott, Moorlands, SA.

At the first board meeting of directors, Mr Piggott was appointed President and a decision was made to appoint an independent chair to oversee board governance.

The new organisation was launched at an industry dinner of 70 people last night in Perth. SCA’s outgoing board members were recognised and thanked for their many years of service on behalf of the industry and its producers.

SCA President Jeff Murray thanked transitional board members who had guided the transformation process from SCA as an incorporated association to SPA as a company limited by guarantee.

These retiring members included Mr Murray, David Boyle, John Wallace, Rupert Gregg, Chris Wallace-Smith, Ron Cullen, Chris Kemp and Mark Murphy.

“It has been a pleasure to serve the Australian sheepmeat industry and I thank each of these members for their dedication to doing their best for the organisation and the industry as a whole,” Mr Murray said.

“We are leaving SCA knowing that the new organisation will better serve Australian sheep producers, reflects best practice governance standards and enables additional capacity in alternate funding and partnership models.

“It has been exciting to be part of its establishment and we look forward to seeing it increase its engagement with producers nationally.”

SPA Chief Executive Officer Kat Giles said the new organisation was committed to providing strong leadership, not only representation, for the industry’s future.

“With the launch of SPA, producers have the opportunity for their voice to be heard nationally through a professional organisation, underpinned by best-practice governance principles through a modernised constitution,” Dr Giles said.

“The new organisation has capacity for individual membership but the solid base of support from the state farming organisations has been the bedrock for many many years.

“The SFOs have guided the transition process and will play a very important role in the future of SPA. The SPA Board is advised by four Policy Committees, which will largely consist of SFO members and the next step will be to appoint those committees. They will be the engine room of policy development and discussion for SPA.

“We are working to build a productive, profitable and sustainable future for all producers, we must be leaders and find the balance between leadership and representation.”

The decision to transition from Sheepmeat Council of Australia (an incorporated association) to a new governance framework was announced following a special general meeting of the members in August. For more information on the changes, download the ‘Welcome to SPA’ Fact Sheet at www.sheepproducers.com.au/SPA_Fact_Sheet_FA.pdf.

Board candidates announced ahead of first Sheep Producers Australia AGM

The inaugural Annual General Meeting of Sheep Producers Australia Limited will be held on Tuesday 14 November, marking the start of a new era of advocacy and governance for the sheepmeat industry.

The decision to transition from Sheepmeat Council of Australia (an incorporated association) to a new governance framework was announced following a special general meeting of the members in August. Sheep Producers Australia, a company limited by guarantee, will be officially launched following the AGM on November 14.

The Transitional Board Directors, including Jeff Murray, David Boyle, John Wallace, Allan Piggott, Rupert Gregg, Michael Craig, Chris Wallace-Smith, Ron Cullen, Chris Kemp and Mark Murphy, have led the changes. These Directors will resign at the AGM after many years of service to the SCA and the sheep industry.

Five candidates have been provided for election at the AGM – Michael Craig, Harrow, Victoria; Jamie Heinrich, Kangaroo Island, SA; Ian McColl, Koorawatha, NSW; Bindi Murray, Woodanilling, WA; and Allan Piggott, Moorlands, SA.

If elected, these five candidates will be the inaugural board directors of the SPA skills-based board.

SCA CEO Dr Kat Giles said, under the new structure, a Board Selection Committee reviewed member-nominated candidates and made recommendations against selection criteria.

“Sheep Producers Australia is to be governed by a skills-based board. The selection committee assessment of candidates included determining an appropriate balance of skills and competencies to enable the board to effectively carry out its role,” Dr Giles said.

“In addition to the board, policy committees will operate in key areas such as Marketing, Market Access and Trade; Health and Welfare; Product Integrity; Research, Development and Adoption; and Industry Leadership and Community Engagement.”

The initial members are state members (state farming organisations), with provision for organisational members and individual members once the structure is established.

Biographies of the board candidates are:

Michael Craig
Michael, with his wife and two boys, manages a broadacre mixed livestock business located at Harrow, in western Victoria. He started farming in 2000, and has focused on innovation to improve productivity and ease of management. Currently all 24,000 sheep and 900 cattle have complete lifetime traceability through electronic identification. Initially his business and interests focused on wool production, but over time the innovations being adopted in the sheepmeat sector, led to diversifying his business to include a sheepmeat focus and improving knowledge about the sheepmeat value chain. This change led to Michael completing a Nuffield Scholarship in 2016 titled, Australian Lamb/Sheepmeat – Commodity or Premium Product? The challenge of moving from a supply chain to a value chain. Michael has been a member of the VFF Livestock Council, and a Board Director of Sheepmeat Council of Australia. He has undertaken the Company Directors Course run by the Australian Institute of Company Directors and held Director positions for family businesses. Michael also holds a Bachelor in Commerce and a Diploma in Financial Markets.

Jamie Heinrich
Jamie works with his parents on their 880ha sheep farm Ella Matta on Kangaroo Island in South Australia, which comprises a White Suffolk, Poll Merino and Maternal Composite seed-stock operation. The main focus of the seed-stock operation is increasing genetic gain through the use of LAMBPLAN and MERINOSELECT. The other part of the business is a commercial self-replacing 18.5-micron ewe flock. He completed a Bachelor of Business (International Business) with a sub-major in Marketing at the University of South Australia. Following this he worked for three years at Thomas Foods International in its meat export and livestock departments. In 2014 Jamie was selected as the Sheepmeat Council of Australia Youth Ambassador, and over three years has worked with SCA to forge relationships in international markets and to build leadership capability in the sheep industry. Jamie holds a position on the Board of Livestock SA and is a Board Member at Ag Kangaroo Island. Jamie is currently undertaking a Nuffield Scholarship on the topic Key factors needed to attract and retain young people in the sheep industry. He completed the Sheepmeat Council of Australia ‘Governance in Action’ Course in 2016.

Ian McColl
Ian owns and manages a mixed farming enterprise at Koorawatha, NSW, producing up to 2000 lambs and 100 steers. In 2017 he entered into a joint venture feed lotting lambs. Ian’s experience as a past President of Sheepmeat Council of Australia, Board Director of the Red Meat Advisory Council, Member of the National Farmers’ Federation and a Partner of Safemeat has given him a diverse knowledge of sheep industry systems, markets, market access and food safety. He has also held Board positions with Central West Landcare and Executive Council and Committee positions with NSWFarmers. Ian’s experience and depth of knowledge of animal health, welfare and biosecurity systems has been affirmed through his roles as Chair of the NSWFarmers Biosecurity Committee, Vice Chair of the Johnes Disease Taskforce, SCA Animal Health and Welfare Committee member and a long-term representative to the committee for National Livestock Identification System for Sheep & Goat Committee.  Ian was an active leader through the reform of the National Ovine Johnes Disease changes in 2013, the changes to the live export industry through the implementation of ESCAS, the development of the Sheep Industry Strategic Plan 2020 and part of the industry negotiations for key free trade agreements, particularly with China.

Bindi Murray
Bindi is a commercial sheep producer at Woodanilling, Western Australia, running about 6500 Merino ewes as part of the wool enterprise and 2000 Merino ewes mated to terminal sires. The enterprise provides to local processors as well as the live export market, and works constructively to improve through strong relationships and developing knowledge of the supply chain as a whole. Bindi’s belief that science is at the heart of agriculture led her to complete a Bachelor of Animal Science, where she focused her Honours thesis on the link between high wool production and meat quality. She has also been a research officer for breech-strike trial projects, and now a regular host of producer trials and technical updates. Bindi has also taken on the Chair of LambEx 2018 organising committee, with a view to ensuring that producers are provided with good science and practical solutions. She is a Board Director of the WA Meat Industry Authority Board. Her involvement in advocacy has been an important aspect of Bindi’s career. She has held roles as a policy director, Pastoralists and Graziers Association Committee Member and involvement in national policy issues, such as traceability. In undertaking these roles Bindi has also built business development skills through small business management studies. She has completed the SCA Governance in Action course, the Company Directors Course run by the Australian Institute of Company Directors and is currently undertaking the Rabobank Executive Leaders program.

Allan Piggott
Allan and wife Sue own and manage a farming business and the Illoura White Suffolk stud at Moorlands, South Australia, run across 2000 hectares and annually selling 600 White Suffolk rams for the prime lamb industry. Allan’s roles in the industry have included many strategic and influential positions including, Chair of the inaugural SA Sheep Industry Blueprint Working Group to set the strategic direction for the SA sheep industry for the next 10 years, Chair of the SA Regional Committee of Southern Australian Meat Research Council (SAMRC), Chair of LambEx 2014 Organising Committee and Chair of the Australian White Suffolk Association. Allan completed the Applied Science course at Roseworthy Agricultural College, and has completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors Company Directors Course. He currently holds a Board position with Livestock SA and is an Executive Councillor of the Royal Adelaide Show Society. He has previously been the Chair of numerous Natural Resource Management groups and held Board positions with South Australia Sheep Advisory Group and SA Murray Darling Basin Natural Resource Management Board.

New leadership network to support future of sheepmeat industry

The Sheepmeat Council of Australia is excited about the opportunity to roll out a series of new initiatives to further build the sector’s leadership capability thanks to funding announced yesterday as part of the Australian Government’s Leadership in Agricultural Industries Fund.

SCA’s application to the fund included development of a Sheepmeat Industry Future Flock Network – an alumni and activities that will connect current and future sheepmeat leaders with the skills and support to represent the industry.

The alumni will complement the organisation’s existing suite of programs through the joint Meat & Livestock Australia and SCA Building leadership capability for the sheep industry initiative.

Chief Executive Officer Kat Giles said SCA’s key focus was on developing leaders with the right skills to take the industry forward, but also supporting them with the necessary systems and processes needed to ensure they can be effective.

“At present, we run a number of programs which support sheepmeat producers in the areas of leadership development and building corporate governance skills,” Dr Giles said.

“The funding from the Australian Government will further increase the support we can provide, ensuring skills developed are well used through a leadership pipeline that will allow the sheep industry to grow in the future and have a strong united voice for producers.

“We are taking a strategic approach to leadership capability building through the Sheep Industry Leadership Strategy developed by SCA. The recent reform of the organisation to include a skills-based board, has been driven by the desire to engage leaders across the industry and, vitally, provide the development pipeline through the supporting policy committees.”

SCA is adopting a new governance framework as part of its transition to become Sheep Producers Australia Ltd. This transition will give the organisation capacity to accommodate and adapt to changes in its operating environment.

Dr Giles said the future flock network will provide information, opportunities and leadership development through innovative platforms, that can be expanded beyond the sheep industries to help build agriculture.

“Our plan is to connect all the participants of sheepmeat industry programs, including the SCA’s programs, so we can provide ongoing engagement, professional development and networking to build a pool of people for the industry’s leadership positions and to keep them engaged in SCA and industry activities,” she said.

“Overall, we know the leadership program is having an impact on the industry. Already, we have supported 20 producers and industry personnel to receive formal corporate governance training through the Company Directors Course run by the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

“We have run Governance in Action workshops for 30 producers and state farming organisation staff to upskill them in advocacy and have supported another 14 through our very own Sheep Industry Leadership Program, run by the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation.

“Participants of these programs will be prime candidates for being part of an alumni so we thank the Australian Government for its support and look forward to getting started.”

Watch a video for more information on the Building leadership capability for the sheep industry initiative here

Lamb Definition Public Consultation

Closing date extended! Submissions due Wednesday 6 December 2017

The Sheepmeat Council of Australia (SCA) is consulting with producers and supply chain stakeholders to determine whether the current definition of lamb requires changing. SCA has released the SCA Lamb Definition Consultation Paper 2017 for more information.

The lamb definition is currently:
Meat derived from a female, castrated male, or entire male ovine animal that shows no evidence of eruption of permanent incisor teeth.

The proposed change of the lamb definition will:
Allow the eruption of permanent incisors, but without either incisor being in wear.

The introduction of meat and livestock specification language that is ‘fit for purpose’, allows for supply chain alignment that generates price signals from consumers back to producers. Alignment will facilitate producers being paid for the attributes that consumers most value at the dinner table – effectively bridging the divide that currently exists between livestock and meat markets. By bridging this divide and producing what consumers value, industry will grow the price premium Australian sheep producers receive for the quality, safety and integrity of their products.

Lamb is currently defined as a female, castrated male or entire male ovine that shows no evidence of eruption of permanent incisor teeth. Under this definition, as soon as an animal has lost a milk tooth it is reclassified to the mutton category. Consequently, the re-categorisation encounters a substantial price discount commonly known as the ‘price cliff face’. At the request of lamb producer groups, SCA commissioned agricultural consultancy organisation, Holmes Sackett, to assess the implications of enhancing the definition so that producers could better manager the ‘price cliff face’.

It isn’t by coincidence the Australian lamb and sheepmeat industry has grown from strength to strength to be the professional and standalone industry it is today. It has taken commitment and passion from all producers to ensure industry’s continued growth, but first and foremost, it has been industry’s united approach that has delivered our greatest successes. It is for this reason SCA welcomes all supply chain stakeholders to have their say on whether industry should move to adopt a definition that allows the eruption of permanent incisors, but without either incisor being in wear or maintain the current definition of lamb.

Input can be provided by completing a short online survey, or alternatively detailed submissions can be made via email to Holmes Sackett at sandy@holmessackett.com.au.

Your feedback will be incorporated by Holmes Sackett into the final report that will be considered by the new Sheep Producer Australia Board in February 2018.

The timeframe:

Further information:

Further information is available in the following background documents.

For more information please contact: Reith Parker, Industry Development and Marketing Officer rparker@sheepmeatcouncil.com.au or 0438 028 391

Request for Proposal: Review of the Sheep and Lamb Transaction Levy

The Sheepmeat Council of Australia is seeking proposals from suitably qualified people/organisations to conduct a review of the Sheep and Lamb Transaction Levies.

A review of the Sheep and Lamb Transaction Levy (STL) is being undertaken to ensure the levy provides adequate funding to meet the sheepmeat industry’s strategic priorities under the Sheep Industry Strategic Plan 2015-2020. The STL is utilised in the collection of industry funds for marketing, research, development and adoption (Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA)) and for funding the sheep industries commitments to animal health and welfare (Animal Health Australia) (AHA)) and chemical residue testing programs (National Residue Survey) (NRS)). The last complete review of the STL was in 2005.

More information is available in the RFT Sheep and Lamb Transaction Levy Review document.

Proposals are due by COB Friday 22 September 2017 and must be emailed to jmcgoverne@sheepmeatcouncil.com.au

SCA calling for applications for non-executive Directors

The Sheepmeat Council of Australia (SCA) is seeking to appoint seven non-executive directors to the Sheep Producers Australia Ltd (SPA) Board.  

SCA is modernising its operations to better serve Australia’s sheep producers. Members have agreed for the organization to transition from an association incorporated in the ACT to a public company limited by guarantee under the Corporations Act 2001 and for the name to change from “Sheepmeat Council of Australia Inc.” to “Sheep Producers Australia Ltd”.

SCA has commenced the migration to a company limited by guarantee, and has been granted permission to do so by the Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate.

There is currently a Transitional Board in place, with a full new skills-based Board of Directors to be elected at the Annual General Meeting on the 15 November 2017, to coincide with the official launch of the company.

SPA will be a not-for-profit public company limited by guarantee. As the national body representing Australian sheep producers, the company will aim to provide reputable strategic and high level technical advice, on behalf of producers, to government and industry service providers in order to position the Australian sheep industry for future success.

As the Prescribed Body for the sheep industry in Australia within the Red Meat Industry MoU under the Australian Meat and Livestock Act 1997, the company will oversee and advise service providers on investment of the sheep and lamb transaction levy, approximately $57 million per annum.

The current Membership includes state farming organisations, with a broad stakeholder base including producers, industry service providers (Meat and Livestock Australia, Animal Health Australia and the National Residue Survey), government, value chain representatives and international counterparts.

Due to the transition to a new entity, all seven Member Elected Director positions are to be filled.

Applications MUST be supported by a State Member of the company, namely Agforce, NSWFarmers, Victorian Farmers Federation, Tasmania Farmer’s and Grazier’s Association, Livestock SA, WA Farmers Federation or Pastoralist and Graziers of WA.

Applications should be addressed to the Chair of the Board Selection Committee and sent to sca@sheepmeatcouncil.com.au or Locked by 9, Kingston ACT 2600, and received by 4 pm EST 29 September 2017. Late applications will not be accepted.

For further information on SCA, SPA or an information pack outlining the application process please contact sca@sheepmeatcouncil.com.au, or your State Member (listed above).

Sheep producers proud of in-market successes in the Middle East

By Dr Kat Giles – Sheepmeat Council of Australia CEO

17-08-31 SCA Editorial Sheep producers proud of in-market successes in the Middle East KGiles image

Dr Kat Giles (BVMS) is the Chief Executive Officer of the Sheepmeat Council of Australia. She is pictured at an ESCAS-approved sheep feedlot in Dubai in July.

THE logistics of Australia’s $230 million-plus annual live sheep trade to the Middle East are hard to fully appreciate until you’ve followed the supply chain through to the point of purchase in-market.

I was fortunate to gain such insight on a tour of Arabian Gulf markets in July as part of a Sheepmeat Council of Australia delegation.

Our time in the region preceded the busy Festival of the Sacrifice (Eid al-Adha) period, which will take place in the coming days and sees a huge spike in demand for live animals.

As sheep producers, we are aware that Eid puts live sheep supply chains under significant pressure and, as such, the risks of unacceptable animal welfare breaches and other Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) non-compliance is increased.

Australian producers are proud of the role they play in servicing Middle East markets during the busy festival season, and throughout the year. But we also expect that our sheep are traded in secure supply chains which uphold full control, traceability and welfare standards.
While our time in the region was brief, the facilities we saw in the United Arab Emirates and Oman which are part of live Australian sheep supply chains were remarkable. Of course, we only saw a handful of ESCAS-approved facilities, so my evaluation of local supply chains is only based on our relatively quick snap-shot of the market. Nonetheless we were impressed with what we saw.

As a veterinarian and animal nutritionist, I was pleased to see first-hand the livestock systems in place at local feedlots and abattoirs that we visited.

The presentation of the Australian sheep we inspected told the story; the animals had full access to water, often chilled, and well rationed feed in clean, shaded, spacious pens which were fitted with fans for ventilation. It was very pleasing to see pens of content, well-cared for animals, with minimal health issues.

The abattoirs we visited promoted safety, hygiene and humane slaughter practices. Municipal slaughterhouses we saw in Dubai and Muscat were adjacent to sheep market areas and we observed how the tradition of a consumer selecting an animal for purchase can work operationally under ESCAS with the appropriate infrastructure investment.

Our time in the Gulf included a visit to Bahrain, which after importing 115,000 sheep in 2015-16, did not receive any live consignments in 2016-17. While the removal of domestic meat and livestock subsidies has meant trade with Bahrain is now dominated by frozen mutton carcases, we were hosted by feedlot owners and abattoir operators who are keen to resume live Australian sheep imports in the future.

Indeed, the market proposition in the Middle East isn’t a matter of importers choosing either live sheep or chilled and frozen sheepmeat. Different customers want different products and all segments of the export supply chain complement the others.

It might be easy to make generalisations about market demand in the Middle East, but it is abundantly clear that there remains significant, sustained and specific demand for live sheep.
It is testament to the quality of our sheep that customers remain committed to importing live from Australia, despite the potential to source cheaper stock from less rigorous exporting nations.

On top of a quality product, the strong relationships between Australian exporters and their customers also plays a crucial role in maintaining and strengthening supply chains. Relationships are a key pillar of all successful outcomes, particularly with regard to animal welfare, and the exporter/importer interaction we witnessed was a highlight of the delegation.
With this in mind, the Sheepmeat Council of Australia will continue to support industry efforts to expand the trade to new and pre-existing live sheep markets which uphold Australian livestock export welfare standards.

The re-opening of trade with Saudi Arabia, with demand for at least one million Australian sheep annually, would drive a 50 per cent increase in the total number of Australian sheep exported to the Middle East each year. This is an exciting market opportunity for Australia’s sheepmeat industry, but one which must be pursued in a way which embeds Australian welfare standards into any re-opened supply chains.

It is important that producers continue to be active stakeholders in the live sheep trade and collaborate with exporters at an industry level to promote long-term sustainability through ongoing market development and animal welfare research initiatives. Producers also expect that exporters and importers continue to implement changes which improve welfare outcomes in market.

Producers play an integral role, especially at culturally significant times such as Eid al-Adha, in delivering a world-class product to consumers in a way that combines long-standing cultural traditions with the highest control, traceability and welfare standards. It is something that the entire Australian sheep industry should be very proud of.

VIDEO: Middle East market snapshot with MLA’s David Beatty

Sheepmeat industry leadership program

SILP Website Banner 2017

The Sheepmeat Council of Australia is offering sheepmeat producers and people working in the industry an exclusive opportunity to be part of the Sheepmeat Industry Leadership Program.

The program will be delivered by the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation (ARLF) and features three training sessions in early 2018. Each position is valued at more than $10,000 each and covers all the training, course materials and travel, with $500 to be contributed by participants.

Applicants must be:

  • A sheep producer or person working in the sheepmeat industry.
  • Able to demonstrate at least five years’ experience in the sheep industry and ready to take the next step in terms of industry leadership and involvement.
  •  Able to commit to attend the full three sessions of the course.
  • Prepared to contribute $500 to the cost of the program.
  • Willing to work with the SCA on future leadership initiatives.

To apply, interested producers must read the Sheepmeat industry leadership program information flyer, complete the eligibility checklist and application form.

Applicants must submit the Sheepmeat industry leadership application form to be considered for this program.

Applications close at 5pm on Monday 23 October 2017 and can be sent to sca@sheepmeatcouncil.com.au

More Information
Kathleen Allan
Skills Development and Communication Manager
Sheepmeat Council of Australia
M 0437 846 605
kallan@sheepmeatcouncil.com.au

Sheepmeat Council of Australia and Australian Meat Industry Council meet to discuss range of sheep industry issues

Sheepmeat Council of Australia (SCA) Directors met with representatives of the Australian
Meat Industry Council (AMIC) in Dubbo on Tuesday 8 August, as part of an ongoing program
of both organisations to ensure the sheepmeat supply chain is able to take a coordinated
approach to industry-wide issues.

Key topics of discussion included;
• a variety of options for a potential change to the Lamb Definition in the Australian
Meat Language, including the definition itself, how to ensure ongoing compliance,
and the potential costs and benefits of making a change,
• the implementation of objective carcase measurement in the sheepmeat industry,
• a market study of the industry commissioned by SCA, and
• market access issues for sheepmeat.

The meeting was also an opportunity for SCA Board Directors and Staff and participants in the SCA’s industry leadership programs to visit Fletcher International Exports, one of the largest sheep processing plants in Australia, to gain first-hand insight into the operations of a major processor and exporter.

Sheepmeat Council of Australia CEO, Dr Kat Giles, said “our meeting was an opportunity for
AMIC and SCA to work collaboratively on a range of value chain issues.

“This will ensure a whole-of-industry response to issues and commitment to ongoing
profitability and sustainability throughout the sector” she said.

“Both organisations have made a firm commitment, on behalf of members, to continue to
work together to strengthen the relationship between producers and processors in the
Australian sheepmeat industry” said AMIC CEO, Patrick Hutchinson.

“It was agreed by both Councils that any definition beyond the New Zealand lamb definition
of a sheep less than 12 months of age or which does not have any permanent incisor teeth in
wear would not currently be beneficial for industry” Dr Giles said.

“An undertaking has been made that the SCA commissioned report, once finalised, will form
the basis for value chain consultation’’ Mr Hutchinson said.

More information:
SCA: KATHLEEN ALLAN 0437 846 605 kallan@sheepmeatcouncil.com.au
AMIC: PATRICK HUTCHINSON 0435 357 942 phutchinson@amic.org.au

Sheepmeat producers to be represented by a modernised peak body

Members of the Sheepmeat Council of Australia voted on Monday to adopt a new governance framework whereby the peak industry organisation will transition to a company limited by guarantee with a new name – Sheep Producers Australia Ltd.

The motions were adopted at a Special General Meeting of SCA in Dubbo, which included a new constitution and agreement for transition to occur before November 2017.

SCA President Jeff Murray says the Council regularly reviews its governance arrangements and decided SCA should refine its operations to better serve Australian sheep producers and in doing so, continue to reflect contemporary governance standards.

“This model brings a raft of opportunities for the entity such as greater engagement with producers and additional capacity for alternate funding and partnership models,” Mr Murray said. “It’s an exciting move for the organisation as the peak body for sheep producers nationally.

“This governance review has been guided by members, who have been involved in a series of consultation meetings over the past few years, along with other key stakeholders, to determine which model would be most suitable for the future.”

SCA CEO Dr Kat Giles says the new structure will give the organisation capacity to accommodate and adapt to changes in its operating environment.

“The organisation will continue to operate under the same Objects, but will introduce a skills-based Board to ensure the best interests of the national industry are promoted. Policy committees will continue to provide policy recommendations for Board approval,” Dr Giles said.

“State farming organisations (SFO’s) will be State Members and there will be provision for organisational members and individual members once the structure is established. The consultation process with producers and industry stakeholders has been extensive with formal governance advice received to ensure we develop the optimum representative organisation.”

“The change to Sheep Producers Australia Ltd, better reflects the role the organisation plays in representing all sheep producers in the production of sheepmeat.

NSW Farmers Sheepmeat Chair Ian Cargill welcomed the change. ‘NSW Farmers sheep producer members will now have a modern, strong peak industry council that can effectively advocate on behalf of our members at the national level to ensure the best outcomes in levy investment and, policy and program development.’

 Importantly, the changes to the constitution are aligned with the organisations’ obligations under the Australian Meat and Livestock Industry Act. This will ensure that the important oversight relationship with Meat and Livestock Australia will continue.

Meat & Livestock Australia Managing Director Richard Norton says ‘it is critical, given the dynamic domestic and global environment, that sheep producers have a strong representative body that can drive the industry forward’

‘MLA welcomes the new governance arrangements for the sheep industry peak body and looks forward to continuing to have a strong and productive relationship with the organisation, with the shared goal of ensuing sheepmeat research and marketing levy investments contribute to producer productivity, sustainability and global competitiveness’ he said.

The transition to the new company will take place over the next few months and is expected to be completed by November 2017.

Media Contact: Kathleen Allan 0437 846 605 kallan@sheepmeatcouncil.com.au