LivestockSA’s main strength – its “bottom-up” structure — would help it increase its membership, the body’s new president Geoff Power said today.
The Orroroo livestock and wool producer last week stepped in to replace Richard Halliday, who was recently elected as president of WoolProducers Australia.
The two sheep industry leaders identified LivestockSA membership as a key issue, with Mr Power stating the body needed to continue to grow its membership. He said a strong membership base gave LivestockSA more influence.
“It gives you a more united base – the more members you have the more clout you’ve got.”
LivestockSA membership is growing
LivestockSA has grown its membership an average of more than 100 new members per month in its first 18 months, though a small portion of transaction levies on cattle, sheep and goat sales in the state helps fund the body. There are about 8000 sheep, cattle and goat producers in SA, Mr Power said.
“Currently 1855 livestock producers are signed-up members, but technically everyone who runs livestock in South Australia can be a member, because they are all contributing to funding the organisation’s advocacy work,” Mr Power said.
“It’s a compulsory contribution, but people can opt out of it.”
Mr Power said LivestockSA membership was growing with the renewal of Producers Identification Codes, but the body’s main strength was its’ “bottom-up” structure.
“One of the problems we’ve got across Australia in agriculture is that in some cases, not all, there are ‘top-down’ structures, whereas ours is a ‘bottom-up’ structure.
“You’ve got to listen what producers are saying – it is all about working from the coalface,” he said.
“I believe that is the way it has got to go.”
LivestockSA’s board is made up of directors located strategically across the state and has a seat along with the other commodities – dairy, grain, viticulture and horticulture – on the overseeing body Primary Producers SA, he said. Half the LivestockSA directors come up for election by all members annually.
LivestockSA structure needs producer support – Halliday
Mr Halliday said LivestockSA was the only state farmer organisation given the responsibility to handle $725,000 in Far North Water Infrastructure Grants, had hosted the best attended Meat Industry Strategic Plan workshop in Australia and demonstrated it could work with peak bodies at the 2014 sheep meat forum with the Sheepmeat Council of Australia.
“We also had more nominations than available board positions, which indicated the interest in LivestockSA as a new producer-driven organisation.”
He implored producers to get behind LivestockSA and its new president.
“We have an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in South Australia with the way we have structure out farm advocacy.
“We are the envy of other states and it is all won to the foresight and the support of South Australian producers in seeing that this was the way to achieve a fair, equitable and well-funded advocacy system,” he said.
“Your local support makes us strong within SA and makes us punch above our weight on the national stage as well.
“I urge you to get behind Geoff and the board as they work on your behalf to influence policy and decision-making in the best interests of livestock production.”
Mr Power said LivestockSA also needed to keep working in key policy areas such as drought, transport, fracking, increasing the Emergency Services Levy, wild dogs, biosecurity and water.