Lamb Definition Public Consultation

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

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 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

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 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, 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

More Information
Kathleen Allan
Skills Development and Communication Manager
Sheepmeat Council of Australia
M 0437 846 605

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

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

Sheepmeat industry backs changes to LPA program

Sheepmeat Council of Australia (SCA) is supporting changes to the Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) program announced today.

SCA President, Jeff Murray said the upgrades will serve to strengthen LPA for the betterment of the sheepmeat industry by ensuring Australia builds on its global reputation as a world leader in food safety, integrity and traceability.

“The industry must continue to work hard to ensure Australia’s red meat production is reinforced by an integrity system that delivers product to customers that meets and exceeds their expectations. The system also allows Australia to maintain its enviable access to new and existing markets, both at home and internationally,” Mr Murray said

“Customers demand a high quality product that is safe and ethically produced. The sheepmeat industry is committed to continual improvement of the integrity system to underpin that claim and grow the sustainability and prosperity of Australian sheepmeat producers.

“SCA is confident that the changes to the LPA program will build our integrity credentials and allow producers to stand by what they sell.”

The upgrades to the LPA program will launch on October 1 and include:

• On-farm biosecurity and animal welfare practices to be included in the LPA program

• LPA accredited producers will need to complete a regular assessment

• As part of a new secure funding model, producers will pay $60 (+GST) for LPA accreditation every three years

• New online learning modules to upskill producers (LPA Learning)

• Further rollout of free electronic National Vendor Declarations (eNVD)

SCA CEO Dr Kat Giles said the changes will ensure Australia remains a world leader in red meat safety and traceability.

“Meeting the requirements of the LPA program will continue to provide livestock producers with a competitive advantage and the best opportunity to sell their livestock for the highest possible price in the greatest number of markets.

“A suite of tools and information will be provided to producers between now and October 1 to make the changes as easy as possible.

“SCA, through our Food Safety and Integrity Systems and Animal Health and Welfare Committees worked in close consultation with the Integrity Systems Company and the wider red meat industry on the development and implementation of these changes and to ensure they align with the needs of the red meat industry.”

Producers can access background information on the red meat integrity system at the Integrity Hub, It includes information on the LPA program, the National Livestock Identification System, LPA Learning and producer resources.

More information on the changes can be found at

Next round of applications sought for leadership governance training scholarship

Applications are open for the Sheepmeat Industry Governance Scholarship– an opportunity for sheepmeat producers to receive formal training in industry leadership and corporate governance.

There are eight scholarships available for 201/7/18 – each valued at up to $10,000 – through the Sheepmeat Council of Australia and Meat & Livestock Australia joint initiative, ‘Building Leadership Capability for the Sheep Industry’.

The initiative’s objective is to ensure the Australian sheep industry attracts and retains people with leadership skills to contribute to the long-term viability of the industry by developing industry capability and capacity.

The governance scholarship is for producers to complete the Company Directors Course through the Australian Institute of Company Directors. It includes all course fees and one year of AICD membership (paid direct to the AICD), travel to the course and accommodation and meals during the course.

The course is a five-day intensive program for board directors, aspiring directors or executives and focuses on the roles, responsibilities and skills required by directors and boards.

Sheepmeat Council of Australia CEO Kat Giles says the Council is committed to ensuring the next generation of sheep producers is equipped to take on positions of leadership in the organisation.

“Strong corporate governance and board leadership skills are crucial to the future of the Australian sheep industry and the AICD Course is a great program to learn the skills important to SCA,” she said.

“Graduates learn key skills such as the roles and responsibilities of being a director, duties around risk, legalities, strategy, financial literacy and driving board effectiveness which is useful at a farm management level as well as representing the industry.”

Participants in the 2016 program, held in Canberra, said:

“The course gave a comprehensive overview of governance structures, relevant legislation, risk management and financial literacy and gave excellent insight into what to look for and what questions to ask to ensure sound Board decision-making. It has increased my confidence and helped to fill skill gaps in financial literacy as well as updating and strengthening other knowledge areas. It is a very positive move that the sheep industry is upskilling those in the industry in corporate governance as it will increase the confidence and effectiveness of decision-making of those involved in the industry which will in turn strengthen the performance of the industry itself.” 

Fiona Rasheed, producer, South East of South Australia

“Completing the AICD Company Directors Course was a really valuable experience for me personally, giving me great exposure to the principles that underpin good governance from grassroots organisations right through to whole-of-industry bodies. The training provided to me and the other participants will help ensure the sheep industry has a growing number of individuals that understand governance and are able to apply those skills within the boards and governing bodies they are part of now and for years to come.

Troy Fischer, producer, Mid North of South Australia

Applications must be submitted before 5pm on Tuesday 1 August 2017. An application form and program flyer with conditions of entry are available online at

For more information about the Company Directors Course, visit

Governance Banner May 2017_FA web

More information and interviews: Kathleen Allan, SCA Industry Leadership and Communication Manager

0437 846 605

Leadership graduation highlight of big week for SCA in Canberra

The Sheepmeat Council of Australia concluded a full week of activities in Canberra last night, incorporating a quarterly board meeting, governance training for young industry leaders and the graduation of participants in its first national leadership program.

SCA Chief Executive Officer Dr Kat Giles said one of the key topics considered by the Board was the future benefits and opportunities of an Australia-European Union Free Trade Agreement (A-EUFTA).

“The EU has an ongoing import requirement for sheepmeat, but the current punitive – and disproportionately low – quota prevents our industry from responding to this demand. A comprehensive FTA offers the prospect of new trade opportunities,” Dr Giles said.

“With Australian and EU officials currently working towards the launch of formal negotiations, the Board, in conjunction with other industry stakeholders, is considering options for securing significant improvements to current access arrangements.

“In animal health and welfare, we discussed how the council could further support efforts to improve lamb survival, which is a critical element for the industry to build the sheep flock and increase overall productivity. We will continue to pursue this issue through our national networks in research, development and adoption to see change.

“Finally, we discussed the biosecurity strategy for the sheep industry and, in particular, how we can bring certain elements around the Sheep Health Monitoring Project, the Sheep MAP, and the Sheep Health Declaration together so they make a lot more sense for producers and they are able to use those tools more strategically.”

SCA President Jeff Murray said work on the SCA restructure was progressing with the aim to transition to a new organisation later in the year.

“Our aim has been to ensure the Board and governance structures are in place to position us for the future and as work on the restructure continues, producers can be confident we are pursuing a model that will provide the industry with the leadership that is needed,” he said.

In addition to the Board meeting, SCA also hosted the final session of the Sheepmeat Industry Leadership Program and hosted a two-day governance workshop, as part of the joint SCA and Meat and Livestock Australia project, Building leadership capability for the sheep industry.

SCA Industry Leadership and Community Engagement Committee Chair Michael Craig said the leadership program, run through the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation, aims to develop and retain people with leadership skills to contribute to the long-term viability of the industry.

“Last night, 14 participants graduated from the course which succeeded in enhancing their leadership skills, building confidence and understanding in governance and policy, and developing new networks and friendships that will last a lifetime,” Mr Craig said.

“In addition, 15 young policy officers and sheep producers gained first-hand experience in the council’s work through the Governance in Action workshop that aimed to upskill them in the areas of advocacy, engaging with government and political representatives, personal effectiveness and social media.

“The sheep industry’s future depends on having leaders with the capacity, skills and experience to protect and promote it and as part of the project, SCA is investing in the skills base of the current and future generation of industry leaders and advocates.”

For interviews: Contact Kathleen Allan, Sheepmeat Council of Australia Industry Leadership and Communication Manager, 0437 846 605.

Watch a video on the week online here

SILP participants web 01062017

Photo 1 caption: Participants in the Sheepmeat Industry Leadership Program visited Parliament House this week, including (back) Allison Harker, Peter Thomas, Amanda Olthoff, Michael Wright, Alister Persse, Dan Korff, Josh Sweeney, John McGoverne, David Lomas and Ben Haseler with (front) Elise Bowen, David Young, Graeme Sawyer and Isaac Allen.

SCA GiA Group Photo FINAL 31052017

Participants in the SCA Governance in Action program; Toby Locke, James Corcoran, Laney O’Neill, Maxie Hanftt, Annabel Johnson, Jane Kellock, Amy Minahan, Tobie Payne, Catherine James, Michael Craig (SCA Board), Courtney Martino, Verity Price, Ellen Davis, Jeff Murray (SCA Board), Bindi Murray, Brad Bateman, Allison Horswill