Sheep Producers Australia has reported on a year of strategic work and outlined its core areas of focus for 2020 at its Annual General Meeting yesterday in Tamworth, NSW.

SPA members also farewelled long-serving board member Michael Craig and endorsed returning board member Jamie Heinrich and new appointment Allison Horswill for three-year terms.

SPA Chair Chris Mirams thanked Michael for his service to SPA and the former Sheepmeat Council of Australia.

“Michael has contributed significant time and energy to SPA and its predecessor over the past six years through being a member of the board and policy committees and taskforces,” Mr Mirams said.

“His relentless enthusiasm to see the adoption of objective carcase measurement and value-based marketing has been a core focus. His ability to think outside the square will be missed.

“SPA was delighted to accept the appointment of Jamie and Allison, two highly qualified and highly regarded individuals from the sheep industry.The success of a skills-based board is its ability to bring together a number of diverse individuals from within the same industry with a common goal, resulting in robust discussion and creative solutions.”

Mr Mirams outlined highlights of the 2018-19 year, saying SPA had contributed to the significant amount of strategic work under way in the industry which would help both to capitalise on future growth and development opportunities.

In particular, this work included the review of the Red Meat Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by the Red Meat Advisory Council, development of Red Meat 2030 and establishment of the Sheep Sustainability Framework.

“These are one-in-20-year and one-in-10-year events and, while they have weighed heavily on our time and financial resources, our input has been vital and highly valued,” Mr Mirams said.

“In addition, SPA has engaged widely with industry on its future strategy through numerous workshops for its stakeholders and challenge groups, as well as policy committees, to engage levy-payers and to help us inform the debate and the SPA Board in our representation of members to stakeholders in a range of forums.”

Mr Mirams says SPA will work to refocus the organisation to attract new funding sources for delivery of new services in 2020 and enable it to continue its valuable work in policy and advocacy.

“One of the major themes of 2020 will be growing the flock. SPA is working with our industry partners to define the other causes of this, other than drought, and to develop a strategy to build the flock,” he said.

“We have an unprecedented opportunity at present because we have extraordinary demand and pricing however we are facing challenges of supply in that the globe is consuming our flock faster than we are producing it. Hence reversing the decline is an immediate priority.

“Another part of our focus in 2020 will be taking the outcomes of Red Meat 2030 and translating them to a sheep-specific strategy.

We’ll work collaboratively with our industry stakeholders and service providers to inform the strategic investment priorities for the sheepmeat industry, to be called Sheepmeat 2030.”