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Sheepmeat Council : Sheepmeat 2015 2016
46 SHEEPMEAT COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA ANNUAL MUSTER 2015-16 Sheep industry blueprint highlight for Livestock SA While the early stages were about setting policy, signing up members and representing their views to government, community and other industry groups and businesses, in 2015 the focus turned to increasing our industry presence and further developing our relationships with industry stakeholders and all levels of government. We have increased our membership from 1906 at the end of 2014 to 2674 at the end of 2015. One of the highlights of 2015 has been the initiation of the South Australian Sheep Industry Blueprint. It started as a partnership between Livestock SA and the SA Sheep Advisory Group, emerging from the success of LambEx 2014 held in Adelaide and the general buoyancy experienced in the industry and producers. The blueprint is more than a strategic plan, it will feature a series of actions and tasks to deliver its overarching aim – to increase productivity and value by 20% by 2020. It recognises that collaboration between all in the sheep and wool value chain will achieve more than each business or sector battling along on its own. The blueprint is intended to grow the industry, to leverage SA sheep levies by collaborating with other stakeholders and investors and to maintain or gain the industry’s share of SA’s workforce. This early work has gained the attention of the SA Government, which is contributing financially to the blueprint’s development, and we have partnered with the University of Adelaide to employ a Blueprint Manager to drive the industry’s development. The blueprint will be launched in April in Adelaide. In terms of issues faced, there have been a range of sheep industry-specific issues but also many cross-commodity issues on which Livestock SA has represented members. Drought has been a key one for producers in the north and south of SA. Lobbying by Livestock SA led to recognition of the drought in the Pastoral region and the SA Government providing $275,000 for water infrastructure grants and wild dog control. The Commonwealth Government also provided $375,000 in support. Livestock SA administered the program in which 17 applications for grants were approved. Feedback was positive from pastoralists who received these funds. In relation to wild dog control, funding was used to complement existing work supporting volunteer shooters (from the Sporting Shooters Association SA and the Australian Deer Association), subsidised manufactured baits, trapper training workshops, and a professional dog trapper. Drought concessional loans have been rolled out to affected farmers. We are pleased this has happened but we had been lobbying for the loans for months and were concerned at the delay. The SA and federal governments have worked together in a bi-partisan way to ensure they are available. We would like to see special consideration given to young people who may have bought their parents’ farm and while they are good farmers, have just been caught in a situation that is no fault of their own because of two bad years in the South East. In SA, many sheep and cattle are kept in areas serviced by water piped from the River Murray. This water is expensive and the cost is acting as a deterrent from producers entering the industry or expanding their enterprises. We have argued there must be a differentiation in prices for water used from SA Water for livestock consumption and that if water prices continue to be artificially increased, an adjustment package will be needed for livestock producers reliant on SA Water’s supply. Transport efficiency can be an impediment to profitable business and Livestock SA was involved as a member of Primary Producers SA in a 90-day transport project, in conjunction with the SA Government. In total, 680 farmers, carriers and contractors provided feedback on transport and machinery movement issues. Information generated is helping government to work through transport reforms, which will save the industry money and streamline heavy vehicle and machinery movement. At the request of members, Livestock SA became directly involved in various NR M issues such as the debate over unconventional gas fracking in the South East of SA, which is currently under investigation and not wanted by majority of landholders in the region. Livestock SA also took a strong stance in opposing the NRM water levy in the Western Mount Lofty Ranges. As a result, we achieved a commitment not to increase the levies for three years and will continue to advocate for this. Finally, thanks goes to Alexander McLachlan as our delegate to SCA. He has diligently represented us at a national level and ensured our feedback on policy was contributed to the broader discussion. Geoff Power President, Livestock SA It has been three years since Livestock SA was established as a specialist advocacy organisation for sheep, cattle and goat producers in SA. Livestock SA president Geoff Power pictured with partners in the SA Sheep Industry Blueprint development including University of Adelaide Dean of Roseworthy Campus Professor Wayne Hein, Blueprint Manager Stephen Lee, Blueprint Chairman and sheep producer Allan Piggott and University of Adelaide Animal Breeding and Genetics Professor Wayne Pitchford..