Cattle Australia says regulations need to catch up to science on beef emissions

Cattle Australia says regulations need to catch up to science on beef emissions.

Wednesday, 8 May 2024

Cattle Australia (CA) has urged regulators to update their greenhouse gas emission calculations to reflect the science on beef cattle emissions and fully realise the potential for the industry to be part of the solution to climate change.

CA Chief Executive Officer, Dr Chris Parker, said unlike the burning of fossil fuels, the beef industry is not an exhaust pipe into the atmosphere.

“The beef industry is unique, in that methane is the largest attributable greenhouse gas to our sector, not carbon dioxide,” Dr Parker said.

“It is important to recognise that notwithstanding their warming effect, methane emissions are part of a 12-year, short-lived biogenic cycle and therefore have a different impact on global warming than emissions from fossil fuels which are additional to the atmosphere and persist for thousands of years, if not millennia.”

A 2023 report from the CSIRO, Pathways to climate neutrality for the Australian red meat industry, recognised that different targets are needed for different types of emissions in order to measure the industry’s progress towards achieving a state climate neutrality.

“Cattle Australia supports a target to be climate neutral, a point at which emissions from the beef industry will have no additional impact on global temperature rise,” Dr Parker said.

“The Australian beef supply chain has shown its commitment with significant contributions towards mitigating its emissions and will continue to do so, with large sections of the industry already sequestering more CO2 than they produce.

“Given the scale of Australian grazing land, beef producers also have the ability to sequester carbon in vegetation and soil like no other sector.”

But Dr Parker said current methodologies risk policy missteps and unfair burdens on a critical sector of the economy.

“These risks will potentially involve costly interventions and greater difficulty accessing financial services, which would have direct implications on production costs and asset values,” Dr Parker said.

He said the beef industry was an important part of the solution to stabilise global warming but was being stymied by a national accounting method that did not reflect the complexity and opportunity of grass-fed enteric methane.

“There is a lack of understanding regarding the net position of grass-fed enteric methane emissions, and we are only partially measuring the emissions versus sequestration equation (CO2 capture through biomass).”

Dr Parker said the beef industry has specific nuances when it comes to GHG emission, and there needs to be more work done to understand the biogenic nature of methane emissions from grass-fed cattle and the manner in which this contributes both to net GHG emissions and to atmospheric warming.

“It is crucial Government and industry research efforts are in sync, and producers have access to accurate data on the net effect of both their CO2 and their methane emissions – something which is currently missing.

“There is a real opportunity here to further display the benefit of red meat production in Australia to the environment while considering the importance of food security, nutritional security, and the societal role of meat.

“Future goals need to continue to stimulate investment to ensure an ongoing positive impact on the climate, in conjunction with the continued profitability and productivity of our sector.”



Hayley Kennedy
0488 021 154

Stacey Wordsworth
0438 394 371


Garry Edwards

Managing Director and CEO, Maureen Pastoral Company

Garry was born and raised on a commercial beef cattle property south of Gloucester in New South Wales. Garry has personal cattle production interests in this region today as well as his corporate role as the Managing Director and CEO of AAM, a business that has a significant focus in continuing to expand beyond our cattle production interests in Central West NSW, near Forbes and Bective Station near Tamworth, NSW.

Garry has over 25 years’ experience in large scale livestock production management within the Australian agribusiness sector. His experience spans across a vast array of areas of the agricultural supply chain and includes managing businesses involved in livestock breeding, growing and finishing, financing of agricultural projects, implementation of precision agriculture practices, investigation and implementation of sustainability and innovation initiatives and developing and operating integrated agricultural businesses.

In 2007, Garry founded the company that today is AAM, commencing the development, operation and management of a portfolio of agricultural assets valued at $887 million and he remains the major shareholder of AAM.

Garry has a unique skill set across multiple facets of the grass-fed cattle production supply chain, from production through to finishing, as well as a unique perspective of the challenges facing all grass-fed producers within Australia through his involvement in the modernisation and development of livestock marketing facilities throughout Victoria, NSW and Queensland.

George King

Managing Director, The Whitney Pastoral Co and Manager, "Coombing Park"
George is a seventh generation Australian farmer, currently managing his family property which they have held since 1880. George operates an Angus breeding and finishing operation joining 1,500 cows per year, with a low-cost model turning off steers at feeder weights and direct sales of females.

George has long been on a regenerative agriculture path as it was the only way he could see to renovate their property 25 years ago without employed equity or working capital, which at the time they didn’t have. He continues with this model as it provides outstanding cost containments, continued production and profitability.

George is married with four (4) children, Harry 24, Emma 22, Dave 15 and Tom 13. He also enjoys flying and has his pilot’s license.

George is also a Founding Director of The Wellness House and a Founding Director of ONFARM CO. He has a strong voluntary involvement with his community including as the NSW Rural Fire Services Senior Dept Capt. and Chairman of St Paul’s Carcoar.

Bryce Camm

Grazier, camm agricultual group

Bryce Camm hails from Dalby in Queensland’s Darling Downs region where he oversees his family’s company Camm Agricultural Group; an integrated beef and cropping enterprise with interests across Queensland.

Bryce has been CEO of the group for the past eight years. Prior to that he was the Manager of the group’s award winning Wonga Plains Feedlot for eight years where he oversaw the operation triple in size. Growing up on “Natal Downs” Station in north Queensland Bryce undertook a dual degree in Business Administration and Communications at Bond University and is a graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Program as well as the Australian Institute of Company Directors Course.

Bryce is currently the Chairman of Beef Australia Ltd and the Immediate Past President of the Australian Lot Feeders Council, as well as a previous Director of the Red Meat Advisory Council. 

Elke Cleverdon

Owner and Director, Cleverdon Agriculture - Grass Fed Black Angus

Elke is an experienced non-executive director in the agribusiness and customer-owned banking sector with a passion for member-centric organisations. She brings a grower perspective coupled with her genuine drive to elevate the industry through innovation. She was selected to the National Farmers Federation ‘Diversity in Ag Leadership’ 2022, among 12 women nationally. 

Elke has a broad background in the agricultural industry as a producer and rural financial coach across regional NSW challenging business models & production systems for growers across a wide range of commodities. Elke is a joint owner & director of a broad acre family cattle farm at Harden NSW since 1993. Cleverdon Ag raises & trades black Angus cattle  

Elke brings a wealth of financial, risk management and governance experience. Her current non-executive director roles include Local Land Services (NSW), Murrumbidgee Health (NSW Health) and SWS Credit Union. Some of her many strengths is a strong focus on strategy, risk and a triple bottom line while chairing large scale audit & risk committees  

David Foote

Director - Tandarra Partners

Nominated by: Peter Hall, Troy Setter, Bryce Camm, David Hill, Adam Coffey 

For the past 45 years, David has held rural property management, executive and senior management positions across all mainland states in areas of; beef cattle & sheep breeding, growing and lot feeding, meat retailing, small seed growing, irrigated fodder, and the further processing and exporting of primary products such as meat, grain and fodder.

His export experiences which started in 1989 included a role with Stanbroke Pastoral Company to help develop Stanbroke’ s Live cattle export program. Additionally, David managed the integration of Bottle Tree feedlot grain feeding in the production system while developing and launching their now globally recognised Diamantina beef brand.

David has been in a leadership role at the Lee Family’s, Australian Country Choice group of Companies since 1999 and progressed in that time from General Manager Properties & Livestock to Group Managing Director until stepping back in December 2020 from a full time role to a strategic advisory and board role.

Headquartered in Brisbane and employing over 1,400 staff across 42 operations, Australian Country Choice (ACC) operates Australia’s largest vertically integrated beef supply chain; encompassing cattle breeding, cattle growing and feedlotting to supply its integrated food processing facility in Brisbane that incorporates beef slaughter, beef boning, value-adding and case ready beef packing.

ACC’s cattle property portfolio of around 4 million acres in Queensland & NSW encompasses operations from the Barkly Tableland, CQ coalfields, Carnarvon ranges, Augathella, Blackall, Roma, and Moonie districts of Queensland, with a carrying capacity of 300,000 head. of cattle to support the Company’s 3 feedlots.

Additionally, David represents Agricultural & Cattle industry interests in his role as; Non-Government member Australia­ Indonesia Red Meat & Cattle Partnership, member SmartSat CRC, member Cattle Australia -Policy Council, member Australian Meat Industry Council -China & Halal Trade Groups, Chair Workplace Health & Safety Queensland -Rural Industry Sector Standing Committee, Deputy Chair Laguna Bay Pastoral investment committee and Board Member lnventia Genetic Technologies (IGT). 

Away from work David has a small cattle property in the Mt Kilcoy (Qld) district running Charolais & Charbray breeders to the delight of his four grandchildren.

David wishes to continue into a second term to help build a strong and successful Cattle Australia to represent the interest of all cattle producers