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Sheepmeat Council : Sheepmeat 2012
SHEEPMEAT COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA ANNUAL MUSTER 2012 47 Fears of low sheep numbers and the implication for workers across the West is a huge concern for WAFarmers 2011 was a busy year for WAFarmers with poor seasonal conditions in the West and demand from the East resulting in an east bound exodus of more than 1.2million sheep and 128,000 cattle in late 2010 and early 2011. Low sheep numbers and the higher AUD has led to a reduction in working hours for Western Australian abattoirs, and is impacting on abattoir employees and communities. Continued low supply may result in a further loss of skilled labour in the livestock sector. This continues to be an area of grave concern for WAFarmers as the loss of any sector of the industry reduces competition at the saleyards and farm gate. The decision by the Federal Government to suspend the live export trade to Indonesia sent shockwaves through the livestock industry. WAFarmers quickly stepped to the forefront of this debate with intensive lobbying of politicians, regular media and a strong presence of several key taskforces. WAFarmers was also responsible for the hosting of a Pro Live Export Rally on the steps of Parliament House (attended by over 600 farmers) and a highly successful ‘Save Australian Farming’ rally at Langley Park in the Perth CBD. WAFarmers is continuing to work with industry to ease the ramifications of the live export suspension on Northern cattle producers and is carefully monitoring the live sheep trade. WAFarmers has a strong relationship with the Western Australian Live Exporters Association and remains active on national live export taskforces. WAFarmers has sought to proactively advocate on behalf of the WA sheep industry through the promotion of Farm Day, the facilitation of media training for industry spokespeople and involvement with Meat & Livestock Australia’s social media workshops. WAFarmers also remains on a number of industry / government committees, including the Sheep NLIS Working Group and is working closely with the Livestock Compliance Unit and Western Australian Police Force to address stock theft. Western Australia has an outstanding visual system for the identification of sheep. WAFarmers is fully supportive of the current system and would not support the introduction of mandatory RFIDs. WAFarmers is working closely with the Department of Agriculture and Food WA in encouraging high levels of compliance with mob based movement recording requirements amongst producers. WAFarmers is also working with Western Australian Meat Industry Authority and is an active participant in the discussions surrounding broader saleyard strategy in WA. WAFarmers Meat Section maintains a focus on animal health and is involved in Ovine Johnes Disease (OJD), footrot, lice, Emergency Animal Disease livestock valuation manuals, Industry Liaison Officer training and an array of other animal health issues. WAFarmers extends our thanks to Sheepmeat Council of Australia and Animal Health Australia for their assistance in delivering Industry Liaison Officer training to Western Australian producers. WAFarmers is continuing to advocate for Country of Origin Labeling in meat products and has been involved in the National Food Plan. During 2011, WAFarmers has been delighted to welcome a number of young sheep and cattle producers as guests to Meat Council meetings and has seen a resurgence of interest from young farmers. WAFarmers continues to work towards ensuring a sustainable and profitable meat industry for future generations of Western Australian farmers. We look forward to our association with the Sheepmeat Council of Australia and will ensure that the interests of WA sheep producers are represented at a national level. Verity Morgan-Schmidt ExECuTIVE OFFICER - M E AT , PASTORAL AND DAIRY WAFarmers