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NSW and Vic farmers urged to attend Albury red meat hearing

Sheep Central, August 31, 2015
NSW Farmers president Derek Schoen

NSW Farmers president Derek Schoen

NEW South Wales and Victorian livestock producers are being urged to attend a public hearing in Albury this Wednesday into the red meat processing sector.

The public hearing is part of the Senate inquiry into the effect of market consolidation on the red meat processing sector and will feature evidence from the Victorian Farmers Federation and NSW Farmers.

The hearing will start at 9am on September 2 in the Albury Entertainment Centre in Swift Street and run till 4.20pm.

NSW Farmers President Derek Schoen will give evidence on behalf of the association to the Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport.

NSW Farmers along with the Victorian Farmers Federation have voiced their concern on the effect of market consolidation on the red meat processing sector and the need for a level playing field.

Mr Schoen said that farmers want a simple, clear, adaptive and resilient market structure that can deal with the livestock market as it exists now.

“We also need one that is capable of keeping pace with the evolving consolidation and rationalisation in the processor and retailer market,” he said.

The inquiry and its recommendations need to focus on transparency, price discovery, enforceable market conduct and the conditions for a fair market, NSW Farmers said.

Mr Schoen said Australian agriculture was becoming globalised and unfortunately, the red meat value chain lacked any suitable framework for this evolution.

VFF wants a simple, clear resilient market

Victorian Farmers’ Federation livestock president Ian Feldtmann said livestock farmers have collectively voiced their concern on the effect of market consolidation on the red meat processing sector.

“After significant consultation from the VFF, NSW Farmers, state and national politicians and industry groups it is time to present these findings at a Senate Hearing next Wednesday in Albury. “

The VFF’s submission has stated that farmers want a simple clear adaptive and resilient market structure that can deal with the livestock market as it exists now and is capable of keeping pace with the evolving consolidation and rationalisation in the processor and retailer market.

Mr Feldtmann said the VFF has long lobbied for a wide-ranging review following a processor boycott of the Barnawartha saleyards and the takeover of Primo Smallgoods by Brazilian agri-giant JBS.

“Critically, the focus of the recommendations of this inquiry to the senate must be about the basics of transparency, price discovery and enforceable market conduct as a minimum and necessary condition for a fair market.

“There is a definite lack of transparency regarding feedback to the producer regarding the actual measured performance of the product trusted to the processor,” Mr Feldtmann said.

“When processors recover at least 22 percent of the price they pay for cattle just by selling waste and by-products, you start wondering about their profit margins.”

Sources: VFF, NSW Farmers.

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