IT’S Australia’s most influential red meat body, the face of beef and lamb, the declared industry supplier of both research and marketing and typically the organisation that bears the brunt of everything from falling cattle prices and anti-meat messages to uncooperative weather.
Everyone appears to have an opinion on how Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) is performing, and at one time or another has argued it needs a bomb under it, yet at the base of that call is often a key misconception – their levies are paying for everything.
It’s right that MLA is primarily funded by transaction levies paid on livestock sales by producers. To be precise, in the past financial year $53.8m from grassfed levies, $10.9m from grainfed, $35.8 from sheepmeat and $0.7m from goats. However, total revenue was $200.5m so half came from other sources.
- Investigation into RDC management of levies
- Follow the levy money
- No blanket rule for research organisations
- Cotton, does size really matter
- Sheep bodies at loggerheads
The Federal Government contributes a dollar for each levy dollar invested in research and development (R&D) but MLA also garnered funds from unmatched grants and co-investments with other sector service companies and individual businesses.
Further income came via the subsidiary donor company MDC, which partners with investors in areas that bring value to the supply chain through innovation and new technologies.
The 2016/17 revenue was actually 1.4 per cent higher than the previous financial year and above expectations, given levy income fell significantly with tight cattle and sheep supplies. That reduction was offset by the commercial partner contribution coming through MDC and higher matched government funds.
MLA spent $104.2m R&D and $88.9m in marketing and insights. This year, more in the area of consumer insights than ever before was invested. MLA now had more than 100 consumer data points from major markets across the world.
It’s operating under philosophy the industry’s future depends on knowing the consumer well.