WA producer joins efficiency challenge

MEAT and LIVESTOCK AUSTRALIAThe West Australian

A WA sheep farmer has joined five producers from across Australia in a challenge to improve the productivity and profitability of their enterprises.

"We have selected six enthusiastic and driven producers to take up the Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) challenge to create more productive businesses over the next 12 months," said Peter Vaughan, MLA's General Manager Livestock Production Innovation. "Each challenger is being supported with a business coach, producer mentor and a wealth of the latest MLA research and industry resources to hone their operations."

"While the focus will be on the six challengers taking their own path to success, a key component of the program will involve challenging other Australian beef and lamb producers to consider how they could use these same resources and tools to improve their own businesses.

The six challengers were selected from more than 40 producers who applied from across the country.

From Queensland, two beef producers will participate - Andrew Miller from Windorah and Lachlan Hughes from Dulacca. Two beef businesses from southern Australia will participate - Matthew Pearce from Cootamundra, NSW and Bill and Georgia Wilson from Edi, Victoria. Two sheepmeat producers will participate - John Ramsay from Bothwell, Tasmania and Marcus Sounness from Amelup, Western Australia.

Over the year-long challenge, these producers will document their progress and share their experiences through both traditional and social media which will allow anyone to track and compare their progress. Their journeys can be followed at www.mla.com.au/challenge which also houses the latest information, tools and resources that they are using in the MLA challenge.

"MLA invests industry funds into research that aims to find new ways to improve the profitability and productivity of Australian cattle and sheep enterprises. This levy-funded research can have proven benefits and we want more producers to access it - whether that is directly with us or via their local industry experts - and we are confident the MLA Challenge will inspire them to do this," said Mr Vaughan.

Individual goals and improvements on current business performance agreed with each challenger today will be measured throughout the program to determine the eventual winner of the inaugural MLA challenge. The winner will receive a bursary to support their ongoing professional development and additional agribusiness services.

Woolworths, Westpac, QantasLink and Fairfax Agricultural Media are supporting the MLA challenge.

Andrew Goudie, Woolworths Head of Meat, will be one of the MLA challenge judges and is looking to see how the challengers understand the market that they supply, their increased productivity as well as their food safety and animal welfare practices.

"We are pleased to support an initiative that builds leadership capacity and skills in the agricultural sector to ensure fresh Australian meat remains at the centre of the nation's dinner table."

Susan Bower, Head of Agribusiness for Australian Financial Services for the Westpac Group, will also be a MLA challenge judge.

"We see the challenge as an excellent opportunity to support growth and innovation within the red meat industries for future longevity," said Ms Bower.

"I will be looking to see which challengers have the drive and enthusiasm to make positive change for their own business and the willingness to impart their learnings and insights to the industry as a whole."

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