NORTH SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – Last week, proposed marketing activities for Australian beef and lamb in 2010 came under scrutiny as a broad section of industry stakeholders met during Meat & Livestock Australia’s (M.L.A.) annual marketing taskforce meetings. Representatives of all industry sectors gathered to conduct an analysis of M.L.A.’s domestic and international marketing activities and budget allocations for the year ahead, said David Palmer, M.L.A. managing director.

“Each year, we have a wide cross-section of industry gather to discuss the big issues and opportunities for red meat, and how they want to see marketing levies invested for maximum benefit to producers and the broader industry,” Mr. Palmer said.

Major issues addressed by the marketing taskforces were:

* Capitalizing on recent market access gains for beef in Europe and Russia and continuing to focus on improved access across all red meat markets.

* Increased competition in Australia’s largest beef markets – Japan and Korea – with the return of U.S. beef.

* The ongoing threat to the perceived nutritional benefits of red meat and competition from other proteins.

* Countering misinformation in the community about the impact of red-meat production on the environment.

* Diversifying Australia’s market base and spreading risk by increasing investment in emerging markets such as South East Asia, Russia and the Middle East.

* The need to provide producers and the industry at large with clear and practical information on the opportunities that exist in the sheep-meat industry.

“While underlying demand for our products is still strong, emerging issues threaten the future prosperity of the industry,” Mr. Palmer said. “M.L.A. is working hard, with industry backing, to best position Australian red meat and livestock on the global stage.”

Taskforces are operated by M.L.A. for each of Australia’s major markets – domestic, Japan, Korea, Americas, Europe and South East Asia – which oversee and assist direction of the marketing strategies and programs it carries out on behalf of the industry.