A report card into the sustainability of the Australian beef industry shows the industry in on track to be carbon neutral by 2030.
According to the Red Meat Advisory Council report, the industry is achieving major milestones in its care for people, land and livestock.
The update reports against the priorities of the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework, an industry initiative that aims to meet changing community expectations and support a thriving beef industry.
RMAC chair Don Mackay said the 2019 Sustainability Update sent a clear message to customers and other key stakeholders that the industry was demonstrating a self-directed approach to improving the environment and welfare of animals in its care, while producing high quality and nutritious beef.
‘‘The 2019 update for the first time benchmarks our industry’s commitment to achieving the right balance of tree and grass cover and shows that forest and woodlands on beef-producing land nationwide are increasing and removal of primary forests has declined more than 90 per cent since 1990,’’ Mr Mackay said.
‘‘Our customers recognise the important role our beef producers play in managing the landscape, biodiversity and our grasslands, and our 2019 update captures this.’’
Australian Beef Sustainability Framework steering group chair Tess Herbert said the report demonstrated the value that could be gained through collaboration.
‘‘In developing our sustainability report card, we’ve continued to collaborate with industry, beef business, Australia’s major financial institutions and agribusiness, technical experts and key customers around the world,’’ Mrs Herbert said.
‘‘Our report is evidence this collaborative approach works.
‘‘It shows that we have achieved a better outcome for our industry and the environment in which we operate over the past year.
‘‘Australia remains 100 per cent exotic disease-free and producers are doing more to support animal health by increasing vaccination rates by 11 per cent in the past year.’’
The report showed that despite huge challenges, such as drought, Australian beef farms were more profitable, reporting a 4.4 per cent increase across the board in returns over a five-year period.
The report has been welcomed by Farmers for Climate Change chief executive officer Verity Morgan-Schmidt.
‘‘Farmers take their role as land custodians very seriously and are constantly seeking to improve what they do,’’ Ms Morgan-Schmidt said.
‘‘The annual report of the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework shows it is providing a clear path to improve how the industry cares for its natural resources, animals and people.
‘‘The red meat industry has a target to be carbon neutral by 2030, and this report demonstrates that the industry had already managed to halve its emissions from 2005 levels.
‘‘With the right investment in research and development, we’re likely to achieve that target. Agriculture is leading the way, and we look forward to seeing other industries following suit.’’