With a new chief executive officer at the helm and 15 grassroots, democratically-elected members of an inaugural regional consultative committee that will drive strategy, the new-look body representing grassfed cattle producers has promised big things for 2024.
Cattle Australia ran a forum for producers as part of its annual general meeting in Albury, southern NSW, this week.
It's now almost a year since Cattle Australia was put in place and CEO Dr Chris Parker, chair David Foote and deputy chair Garry Edwards all said the focus was on what's coming rather than what had been.
"Ultimately, this organisation is here to represent every single grassfed producer in the county, whether they have one head of cattle or 350,000 head," Mr Edwards said.
"We have the opportunity now to ride a wave of momentum in the way this industry engages."
He promised CA would take its meetings to the regions from here.
That move significantly distinguishes it from its predecessor, Cattle Council of Australia, which was seen very much as a Canberra body.
The need for a democratic election of the people driving policy was also a major issue that led to the creation of Cattle Australia.
Mr Edwards also said a priority now was to address what he called the "single greatest misconception" that existed in the cattle game - that producer interests can be represented by the organisation that receives the $5 transaction levy, Meat & Livestock Australia.
"Our target in 2024 is to increase the level of awareness around that issue because inherently there is an unfortunate level of complacency and expectation that MLA will do everything," Mr Edwards said.
"MLA can not advocate and it can not create policy on behalf of the producer.
"As the single largest levy paying contributor, it is long overdue that grassfed producers understand that."
He said every person involved in the cattle industry had to advocate in some form.
"And not to ourselves but to those who consume our beef," he said.
"There can be no expecting someone else to do it."
Cattle Australia announced its 2024 board on completion of its AGM, with two elected director positions contested.
David Foote was re-elected from the North Australia Beef Research regions and George King was appointed as director from the South Australia Livestock Research region.
Continuing in director roles will be Mr Edwards, Bryce Camm, Elke Cleverdon, Adam Coffey and James Bowie.
RCC directly-elected members are Angus White, Cye Travers, Mac McArthur, Loretta Carroll, David Allen, Richard Sutton, Sam Nevill Bell, Tamara Michalek, Peter Camp, Kari Moffat, Ben Hewitt, Lloyd Hick, Jordan Wilson, Tess Bitmead and Caitlin McConnel.
RCC State Farming Organisation representatives are Livestock SA: Gillian Fennell; NSW Farmers Association: Bill Stacy; Pastoralists and Graziers Association of Western Australia: Murray Gray; Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association: Justin Dyer; WA Farmers: Melanie Tolich; Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association: Paul Saward and AgForce Queensland: Brontë Lloyd.
Mr Foote said the first 12 months had seen much work done to put in place the right foundations to set the organisation on a path to becoming the most powerful advocacy body in Australian agriculture.
The job now was to "roll up our sleeves and make sure what grassfed producers have to say counts," he said.
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