What farmers think about climate change, about how livestock methane emissions should be measured and even about what is fair to ask of them in terms of environmental stewardship really doesn't matter.
It's what the consumer thinks that matters.
This point was made at a major red meat industry conference by one of the country's best-known prime lamb seedstock producers, Tom Bull, during a public discussion on sustainability.
Mr Bull, Lambpro at Holbrook in NSW, was part of a panel session with other livestock producers, corporate sustainability practitioners and research and development people at Meat & Livestock Australia's flagship Updates event, held at Bendigo in Victoria.
The panel was asked about what the red meat industry might do to address the 'woke left wing conspiracy called climate change' and the 'deep green left'.
Victorian producer John Buxton put voice to the argument that perhaps fighting back was a strategy the industry should consider, as opposed to trying to appease climate change demands.
Mr Buxton, Bundalaguah, said sustainability was about money, because if the bills can't be paid, nothing can be achieved.
"I'm staggered that so many supposedly intelligent people have been taken in by climate change - it's an agenda driven by the deep green left that has nothing to do with the environment. It's about impinging on the ability of private enterprise to make a living," he said.
Mr Bull: "Our own personal views don't really matter, we have to look at our customer.
"In the cold hard light of day, when I go to Sydney the people I talk to are boasting about doing meat-free Mondays.
"There is no doubt climate change is a big issue for our customers.
"If we fail to deliver on this I can't see us being prosperous in 20 years, irrespective of what we think."
He said if consumers wanted to buy carbon-neutral, sustainability-grown meat, that should be seen as an opportunity to extract more value.
MLA managing director Jason Strong said Mr Buxton had demonstrated there were a broad range of views on the sustainability issue.
"What that highlights is the challenge we face in the sustainability piece in that we don't know everything and yet a lot of definitive statements are made," he said.
"The broader challenge is the potential for policy and requirements that might drive risk into our industry.
"But the benefit we have is the red meat industry in Australia has been looking at the issue for quite some time and because we've been more proactive, we're more in front of the conversation that others.
"The things we've focused on that answer the questions people have around the livestock sector's interaction with the environment are also connected with productivity.
"You can't separate sustainability and profitability."