ATTRACTING the next generation has been an overarching theme of the Red Meat Advisory Council workshops taking place around the country at the moment, as its leaders work towards a Meat Industry Strategic Plan for 2015-2020.
The latest in the 12-venue tour took place at Charleville last Wednesday and saw about 30 people gather to have input into the overarching direction the production, processing and live export sectors of Australia's beef, sheepmeat and goatmeat industries should take.
It is the first time the grassroots has been invited to participate in forming the strategic direction.
The development and delivery of the MISP is overseen by RMAC, and its chairman Ross Keane said that using social media to deliver messages and retain young people in the industry had been a "big theme" at all workshops around the country.
"You've got some common themes, but local issues arise at each," he said.
"At the first session in Darwin it was boats and live export, while in Toowoomba it was coal seam gas.
"At Charleville it was very much a message of wild dogs and what they're doing to people's bottom lines, and also road and rail access, which was a concern to people at the Townsville meeting, too."
He said many of these issues, despite being particular to an area, could be incorporated by the plan, for example, through the direction of R&D. "I was very keen to road test what we'd come up with in Sydney and see what the regions thought. We're a $16b industry, and we need to ensure that the very people who stand to benefit the most from the successes we can achieve through MISP have a direct line of input to its development."
Participants were first taken through the key outcomes to emerge from the forum held in Sydney at the beginning of September and then asked to air own concerns. Challenges at Charleville included transport, pests, profitability, the cost of production, social licence, infrastructure and perceptions.
Some of the ingredients listed for the recipe for future success were encouraging cultural change and how problems are viewed, encouraging young people, taking down communications and technology barriers, smart marketing, managing climate variability and making the most of natural advantages.
Incorporated within these terms were issues including terms of trade and total grazing pressure and impact of kangaroos on productivity.