We must be better at telling our story

Ian Burnett from Agforce at Belmont Station to announce the grazing industry's BMP.
Ian Burnett from Agforce at Belmont Station to announce the grazing industry's BMP. Chris Ison

AS PRIMARY producers, we know we consistently produce the best food in the world, using some of the most advanced techniques and following some of the most stringent guidelines and standards.

What we often do not do, however, is adequately communicate these achievements or the policy needs we have to aid production within our businesses.

Queensland livestock producers have the opportunity to get their opinions and needs considered with the opening of a 60-day consultation period on the draft Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Cattle and Sheep.

The purpose of the welfare standards is to create improved and nationally consistent rules for the care and management of livestock across all farming enterprises.

Animal Health Australia's Dr Kevin de Witte this week said following the development process, these guidelines would be incorporated into legislation and become the legal requirement for livestock welfare, enforced by all states and territories. This is a chance for our cattle, sheep and wool producers to have a hand in the way their industries will be legislated and I urge stakeholders to be part of this process.

While the survey may be long and take some time, surely it is worth this investment given its importance to our commodities and the way we run our businesses.

This is but one example of a time when we, both as individuals and as members of representative organisations like AgForce, need to step forward and defend our right to operate as agricultural enterprises. As an industry, we know we already produce clean and safe food in a way that encourages both productivity and sustainability but we need to communicate this and become a voice heard - and listened to - by the broader community.

For this to be achieved, we must be willing to become proactive in selling our story publicly. Reply to surveys, become engaged in social media and be willing to speak widely about your personal experience of life and business within the rural sector.

Submissions on the draft cattle and welfare standards close on May 6. To contribute, email publicconscattle@

Emerald producer Ian Burnett is general president of AgForce.

Topics:  agforce ian burnett

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