Emissions hot issue for Australia's red meat producers
August 18, 2009
by Bryan Salvage
NORTH SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — As debate on the Australian government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (C.P.R.S.) continues, insiders say the outcome will likely have far-reaching implications for that country’s red meat industry.
Since the C.P.R.S. has dominated recent environmental debates, it is important for red-meat producers to understand the potential effects of the scheme, and environmental regulation, generally, on their business, said David Palmer, managing director, Meat & Livestock Australia.
"All producers are concerned about the impact the C.P.R.S. may have on their farm businesses and M.L.A. has a role to play in providing research and information to producers and industry bodies to ensure they are well briefed on the issue and can take action accordingly," Mr. Palmer said.
Producers in Queensland will be able to hear more about the issue during a specially-convened session featuring several keynote speakers at the upcoming Roma Meat Profit day on Oct. 2. The program, which is being organized by M.L.A. in conjunction with a committee of local producers, is designed to help producers build their profits and prepare for future challenges.
Mick Keogh, executive director of the Australian Farm Institute, will provide insight into the government’s proposed C.P.R.S. and the potential costs that will flow on to livestock producers. Dr. Bill Burrows, Woodland ecologist, will discuss the state of play with vegetation management in Queensland and the potential of scientific solutions for the future. Mr. Palmer will discuss the importance of communicating the red meat industry’s environmental credentials to consumers and how the industry is countering the misconceptions surrounding the environmental impact of red meat consumption.
"Misinformation still abounds in the community about the perceived impact of the industry on the environment," Mr. Palmer said, "M.L.A. is seeking to counteract that through the provision of facts based on sound science."
One such example is the latest University of New South Wales research, which shows that it only takes between 27 and 540 liters of water to produce a kilogram of beef, contrary to the misleading figures put forward by some groups and individuals determined to paint the industry in a bad light, he said.