MLA AGM endorses the new and the re-elected

Guest Author November 22, 2019

New MLA chair Alan Beckett, left, with newly-elected MLA directors, Erin Gorter, Robert Fitzpatrick, and John Lloyd.

A NEW board member and two incumbents returning for a second three-year term were endorsed by levy payers during Meat & Livestock Australia’s annual general meeting in Tamworth this afternoon.

Almost 500 producers and industry representatives participated in a three-day program held as part of the Red Meat 2019 industry event, which culminated in today’s MLA’s annual general meeting.

The program this year featured on-farm tours, latest research, innovation and marketing insights, a red meat showcase and forum, industry breakfast, social functions and networking opportunities.

MLA members voted on the election of three directors to the MLA board.

Joining the board for the first time is John Lloyd – an experienced agribusiness executive with a strong understanding of red meat industry dynamics, knowledge and connections across the agri-food sector. Mr Lloyd and his family run a small agricultural enterprise at Borenore, near Orange, NSW. His previous career included senior leadership positions with Case IH/New Holland Australia and New Zealand; Incitec Pivot; and Wesfarmers Dalgety.

Endorsed for a second three-year term as directors were:

Robert Fitzpatrick  – an industry and technology expert with a detailed understanding of industry representative bodies, research and higher education, retail, fast-moving consumer goods, telecommunications, and information and communications technology sectors, and

Erin Gorter – a rural industry consultant providing business and industry management advice and events planning in rural areas, with many years of experience as a West Australian livestock producer.

All three new or returning directors received unusually high votes in support of between 96.5pc and 97pc, suggesting protest votes over board positions registered by some stakeholders in earlier years have diminished.

The MLA board is a skills-based board, with directors nominated by the selection committee for complementary skills to reflect the diversity required to make important decisions in the best interest of members and for the long-term benefit of the livestock industry.

After eight years on the MLA board, Dr Michele Allan retired as chairman, being replaced as chair by Alan Beckett, who has served on the board since 2014.  Mr Beckett runs an Angus breeding and backgrounding operation near Yea, Victoria. He spent 40 years with a major professional services accountancy firm, practising in the area of audit and corporate services.

In her departing speech as chair, Ms Allan provided the AGM with an overview of the industry over the last 12 months.

“With few producers escaping the devastating effects of mother nature – drought, bushfires and devastating floods in Queensland – it has been another challenging year for our industry,” she said.

“Despite the challenges, demand for Australian beef and sheepmeat has remained extremely strong, particularly in key international markets – a result of a favourable global trade environment and excellent reputation of Australian red meat.

“In 2018-19, MLA has continued to deliver on our Strategic Plan and keep red meat at the forefront of consumers and customers domestically and globally – and ultimately supporting our producers,” she said.

MLA managing director Jason Strong reported on the wide variety of activities MLA undertakes to tell the Australian red meat story to the community and promote our quality products to consumers.

“More than ever before, consumers – particularly in developed markets – are interested in the ‘what, how and who’ behind the products, goods and services they consume,” Mr Strong said.

“With a spike in global headlines focused on the environment, sustainability, healthy diets and the supposed increase demand for meat alternatives – together with an increase in headlines covering anti-meat extremism – it is easy to feel our industry is ‘under attack’.

“However, the headlines do not always match the facts. The reality is this media attention is occurring against a backdrop in which most of the population in Australia continues to buy red meat and enjoy it as part of their weekly diet,” Mr Strong said.

“MLA consumer insights confirm that red meat continues to be the most popular protein with Australian consumers by value and importantly, red meat producers are trusted by consumers.

“Australian red meat producers can be proud of what they do and the quality product they produce. For MLA, telling your story remains a critical component of our work across marketing, research and development,” he said.

“Whether it’s our consumer marketing campaigns, the Australian Good Meat program, our Paddock to Plate virtual reality experiences, our schools program, Rare Medium foodservice program, our work with health professionals and influencers, and our extensive partnerships with major community events – this work is ongoing and is extremely important to the future long-term prosperity of our industry.”

Looking ahead, Mr Strong spoke about MLA’s commitment to helping our industry achieve the ambitious goal to double the value of red meat sales outlined in the Red Meat 2030 strategy.

“We know that as a company, delivering on this vision will require transformative change in the way we operate, and in where our focus should and shouldn’t lie,” Mr Strong said.

More details on Mr Strong’s comments on R&D, community engagement and other topics in separate stories.

Biographies of elected MLA directors:

John Lloyd BSc, MBA

John Lloyd with his family runs a small agricultural enterprise at a Borenore, near Orange, NSW. He has a deep understanding of red meat industry dynamics, knowledge and connections across the agri-food ecosystem including the RDC sector, government and research providers. John has led and created new funding models that have catered for longer-term strategic issues such as export markets, biosecurity, health and nutrition, pollination, major pests, intensive farming systems and urban greening as well as accessing broader and non-traditional sources of investment. John has also completed the Company Directors course with the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He is the former CEO of Horticulture Innovation Australia/HAL, leading both organisations over a nine-year period of significant growth, change and transition. He is a director of Fisheries RDC, Agribusiness Australia and Menari Business Solutions.

Previous roles: John Lloyd has broad experience across the Australian agribusiness sector with previous roles in senior leadership positions including Managing Director of Case IH/New Holland ANZ; General Manager of Commercial Incitec Pivot; and General Manager of Merchandise Wesfarmers Dalgety.

Robert Fitzpatrick BEc, LLB, MBA, GAICD

Mr Fitzpatrick is an industry and technology expert with more than 30 years’ experience in senior executive roles across the spectrum of large corporates, government agencies, small and medium enterprises and start-ups. He has a detailed understanding of industry representative bodies, research and higher education, retail, fast-moving consumer goods, telecommunications, and information and communications technology sectors. He has a passion for improving the integrity and efficiency of Australia’s agricultural sector, applying new analytics to improve on-farm productivity, open up supply chains and reduce the cost of moving product from farm gate to global markets. Mr Fitzpatrick is director of the Australian Academic and Research Network, and as at 30 June 2019 was CEO of Gelion UK and Gelion technologies, a provider of battery storage for the renewable energy sector. Mr Fitzpatrick is Chair of Integrity Systems Company Limited and a Director of Meat & Livestock Australia.

Previous roles: Previous board and senior executive roles include McKinsey & Company, Optus, ShopFast, Monitoring Division Inc and, councillor of Charles Sturt University, senior executive of Data61 (formerly NICTA) and CEO of Australian Information Industry Association.

Erin Gorter BA (Education) GAICD

Ms Gorter is a rural industry consultant with many years of experience as a WA livestock producer. She comes from a farming background and was a landholder and involved in running a mixed farming operation in Kojonup, WA, producing prime lamb, wool and grains, conducting sheep trading and a small amount of agroforestry for nearly 30 years. Ms Gorter runs her own business in providing business and industry management advice and events planning in rural areas. She was awarded the WA RIRDC Rural Women’s Award Runner Up in 2010 and is a Director of AgVivo. Ms Gorter is a  Director of Meat & Livestock Australia, MLA Donor Company and Integrity Systems Company, is Chair of the Remuneration Committee and a member of the Audit and Risk Committee.

Previous roles: Producer representative on the Board of the WA Meat Industry Authority and managed all aspects of two WA-based grower production groups.

Source: MLA


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