Cattle Australia update: Where to from here?

Cattle Australia update: Where to from here?.

This article was originally published on Beef Central on 10 May 2022. It can be viewed here.

Environmental sustainability, biosecurity and costs of production. These are just some of the areas that grass-fed cattle producers want Cattle Australia, the proposed peak body for the sector, to focus on when it launches in July 2022.

Andrew Macaulay, Independent Chair of the Restructure Steering Committee

These insights, along with many others, were gleaned from the recent public consultation period on Cattle Australia’s work priorities, which invited producers and industry stakeholders to have their say on what Cattle Australia’s national focus areas should be to ensure the new entity could represent their interests and support industry growth.

The consultation process resulted in a strong level of interest in Cattle Australia from producers and industry stakeholders, with broad producer reach achieved – notably through the Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) databases, which allowed information to reach over 200,000 subscribers. The Restructure Steering Committee conducted numerous engagement activities, such as webinars, a nationwide advertising campaign in print and digital media, regular stakeholder briefing sessions, attendance at industry events and regular newsletters to support industry participation and engagement. These activities resulted in 200+ submissions and correspondence being submitted to Cattle Australia for consideration and close to 500 levy payers registering their interest in receiving regular updates on the new entity.

The public consultation period has done exactly what the Restructure Steering Committee intended it to do – it has helped raise awareness of Cattle Australia’s purpose, objectives, and remit, as well as unearth what grass-fed cattle levy payers require from their peak industry body to futureproof the industry. It has also reinforced the need for Cattle Australia, an organisation committed to providing a visible, unified, and influential voice for producers as well as clear leadership and direction for the broader grass-fed cattle industry. Producers have spoken and they want a peak body that offers inclusion, producer representation, and strong industry advocacy and this is what Cattle Australia has set out from the get-go to deliver.

The feedback received has been incredibly valuable to the Restructure Steering Committee, who have been using it to inform discussions on Cattle Australia’s organisational design, constitution, priorities, and funding model. Some key decisions made by the Restructure Steering Committee in relation to these areas include agreement on membership eligibility (all payers of the grass-fed levy will be members of Cattle Australia and entitled to a vote) and identification of membership categories (Cattle Australia will have Industry and Associate membership categories).

Submissions received during the public consultation and stakeholder engagement process will also guide the Restructure Steering Committee as it directs its attention to drafting the constitution, securing medium-term funding, and creating a database in collaboration with MLA and other industry groups to help facilitate democratic elections.

With the intended launch date of Cattle Australia rapidly approaching, the Restructure Steering Committee is also focusing on what the transition process will look like. The Restructure Steering Committee have identified a phased approach which means a Board transition process will be required between CCA and Cattle Australia post-1 July to allow time for the election process to be fully developed and implemented. Discussions with CCA on this process are ongoing but both parties agree that this is our one chance to realise a new peak body for the grass-fed cattle industry that represents the interests of all Australian cattle producers, so it’s important that we proceed carefully to ensure we get this right.

One of the members of the Restructure Steering Committee described the Committee’s role as being responsible for putting together all the different puzzle pieces to create Cattle Australia. I agree with this analogy, but in reality, there is added complexity, as some puzzle pieces aren’t always easy to identify, some change shape after you think you’ve put them in the right spot and others we may not even know about yet. This means that what fits well and looks right initially can, after further consideration, consultation, and observation, require reworking. Fortunately, the public consultation process has reinforced that we are working on the right puzzle, and we do have the right pieces – now, it’s just a matter of putting them together in a way that not only realises an influential, representative peak body, but also strengthens industry support, cements confidence, and builds long term respect and support for the new organisation. This is why, although the consultation period has closed, the Steering Committee will continue to liaise with stakeholders as the development of Cattle Australia progresses.

It is exciting to see Cattle Australia take shape and become a peak body that will allow the sector to elevate its national policy priorities and industry advocacy efforts and ensure grass-fed levies support grass-fed producers and a stronger grass-fed economy. On behalf of the Restructure Steering Committee, I would like to thank those who have submitted feedback on Cattle Australia during the consultation period. Your input is invaluable and will help us create an organisation that can achieve its mission of being the voice of grass-fed cattle producers, leading the cattle industry to a stronger, more sustainable future.


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