SOUTH SYDNEY, Australia – Don Heatley, Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) chairman since November 2005, announced he will be retiring in November. He has also served on the MLA Board since its inception in 1998. The Board plans elect a new chair, who will take over after the annual MLA general meeting in November.

"I have decided the time is right for me to retire as MLA chairman and from the Board," Heatley explained. "It has been a great honor and privilege to serve the industry and I remain passionate about ensuring the industry's service company delivers returns to its levy payers. I am committed to leading the company through a successful 2011 and ensuring a smooth transition to new leadership.”

Heatley is optimistic about the future of Australian meat and he cited recent improvements in seasonal conditions throughout most of Australia, as well as the booming demand for protein throughout the world.

According to Heatley, MLA needs to capitalize on its opportunities by continuing to win better access to traditional markets such as Korea, Japan and the EU; expand its presence in emerging markets such as South Asia, Russia and the Middle East. He added that the industry has made many improvements in product quality through various programs; and it must continue to invest in productivity growth through utilizing advanced genetics and adopting best-practice grazing and pasture management.