LIVEXchange Conference Scholarships

December 4, 2017 9:00 am

The LIVEXchange 2017 Conference was held on the 15th and 16th of November, with industry stakeholders travelling from all over Australia to attend and discuss key opportunities and challenges confronting the livestock export trade including continual improvement of the supply chain capabilities, animal welfare outcomes and market opportunities.

Liz Wales and Naomi Leahy were awarded the 2017 Angus Australia Foundation LIVEXchange Scholarships and travelled to Perth, WA for the Conference.

Liz Wales

During June, this year I travelled to Indonesia and saw a number of feedlots that were feeding Australian cattle and I had never meet anyone so proud to be feeding Australian beef as the Indonesians who worked there. This experience encouraged me to apply for the scholarship to attend the LIVEXchange Conference. I had already seen the consumer side of the cattle that are exported from Australia and I was eager to hear from different representatives within the industry and hear the challenges and opportunities the industry faces especially after the events of 2011.

The conference was a two day event held in Perth, Western Australia and it saw a number of different people in the industry speak. One speaker in particular Sarah Hyland, she spoke about consumer insights and that the industry as a whole is seeing branded products and the ability to trace the product back to the producer becoming an influential factor when consumers buy products, meat included. Not only did the conference discuss the future of the industry but also things that are happening now like the extensive research and development that is going on both in Australia and importers of Australian beef like Indonesia which poses an exciting time for exporter and importers as the future of beef uses this technology.

A number of different speakers highlighted that Australia has been experiencing low stock number which poses as an opportunity to Australian producers to work towards rebuilding their herds for export purposes as the markets expand and new market opportunities arise in countries like China and Turkey.

Whilst the conference was underway, Phoenix Exports was sending its third live cattle shipment to China. It is particularly exciting to see increases in the Angus breed finding its way onto the live export boats with the recent shipment into China with Phoenix Exports been predominately Angus steers.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Angus Australia for awarding me the LIVEXchange Scholarship to attend the Conference in Perth. The conference itself gave me a better understanding of the supply of beef to other parts of the world, after seeing the consumers of Australian meat. The conference also gave me the opportunity to meet a number of different participants in the live export trade from Australia. It has allowed me to develop my contacts in the industry, which will help me in the future as I take the next step in my career now that I have completed my Bachelor of Agribusiness. The opportunity that Angus Australia has given me has been invaluable and their commitment in giving to the youth and the future leaders of the Livestock Industry is commendable. I would encourage Angus youth members to take the opportunities that are on offer as they are invaluable.

Naomi Leahy

The LIVEXchange 2017 conference was held on November 15 and 16 in Perth. The two-day event gathered live export industry leaders and representatives together from all over Australia in Perth, Western Australia. The presentations for this year focused on three key areas of the live export industry; (business) adaptability – (industry) sustainability – (community) accountability.

The first area of discussion was business adaptability. A key focus point across both days of presentations was the growing middle class population across Asia, with increased demands for constant red meat supply in South East Asia and China. The emergence of larger middle classes in these key export countries for Australia provide increasing opportunity to both sheep and cattle producers. As a larger proportion of Vietnamese, Indonesian and Chinese populations increase their annual income above $35,000 USD increases in red meat consumption will be seen. Therefore, large opportunity is currently, and will continue to be, presented to Australian producers to supply livestock through export.

Knowledge regarding industry sustainability was delivered to conference attendees with the session largely providing information and ideas to overcome some of the biggest challenges in the livestock export industry. Key areas of focus included a push to producers to increase stock numbers through increasing breeding herds. This is off the back of the previous years of drought forcing large offloadings of Australian livestock animals, thus decreasing herd numbers across Australia. In addition, Professor Kirsten Stilt of Harvard University, Faculty Director, Animal Law and Policy Program, provided knowledge on her experience of Islamic Law and was which Australia can navigate the implementation of stunning in halal slaughtering countries.

A heavy emphasis was placed on the current public perception of the live export industry by the public in the community accountability session. It was largely agreed upon that the responsibility to educate and promote the live export industry to the public lies directly with everyone working in the industry. It was discussed that the industry cannot wait and hope that animal activists will leave the industry alone rather it is important to increase the positive perception and support of the live export industry. This effort should be directed to the larger proportion of the public who neither accept or reject the industry, but who are in general unsure of how the industry operates, rather than targeting animal activists with concrete views. It is important to learn from 2011, and the subsequent shut down of livestock trade to Indonesia, and actively promote the live export industry so the next time an incident occurs, irrational responses can be mediated. This can only be done through developing a greater trust of the industry.

I would like to thank Angus Youth and Angus Australia for providing me with the opportunity to attend LIVEXchange 2017. It was an eye-opening conference into the challenges and opportunities available in the livestock export industry in Australia. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and am extremely grateful. Thank you.

Top Image: Liz Wales and Naomi Leahy at LIVEXchange 2017 Conference