Meat & Livestock News

Australia Presents Livestock Sustainability Achievements at Rome Conference

During the first-ever Global Conference on Sustainable Livestock in Rome, facilitated by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Australia showcased its strides in livestock sustainability. 

Nicola Hinder, Deputy Secretary of the Federal Government’s agriculture trade group, pointed out that since 2005, the Australian red meat sector has slashed emissions by a commendable 65%. Furthermore, both grain and grass-fed beef farms in Australia maintain an emissions intensity that is notably below the global average.

Ms. Hinder accentuated the significance of adopting a balanced, evidence-driven approach to livestock sustainability. She lauded the FAO for initiating such pivotal discussions. Given the diverse contexts of different nations, she highlighted the absence of a one-size-fits-all solution to agricultural sustainability. 

She asserted that policies should be anchored in transparent scientific findings and risk-informed decision-making processes.

On the practical front, Hinder elaborated on Australia’s commitment to sustainable land management strategies. These encompass the management of essential resources like water, soil, nutrients, waste, and emissions. You can watch the video of Ms Hinder’s full presentation here.

Additionally, the nation is focused on devising grazing systems adaptable to fluctuating climatic conditions. The role of innovations, particularly in genetic enhancement, remains paramount.

The FAO’s philosophy of the “four betters” – encompassing better production, nutrition, environment, and life – aligns seamlessly with Australia’s holistic approach to sustainability. The country’s robust investment in research and development (R&D) stands testament to this. 

For every dollar channelled into agricultural R&D, Australian farmers reap benefits estimated at around $7.80 within ten years.

Addressing the global inclination towards subsidies, Hinder advocated for a strategic shift of these funds towards fostering innovation and R&D. She referenced that from 2019 to 2021, a staggering US$817 billion was allocated as subsidy support to the agricultural domain across 54 major economies. 

While the intent behind these subsidies might be noble, they often culminate in unforeseen repercussions, including environmental degradation.

Highlighting the global relevance of livestock, Hinder underscored that livestock contributes to a third of the world’s protein supply. Eating animal-derived foods is crucial in mitigating malnutrition, especially amongst susceptible demographics such as expectant mothers, young children, and older people.

The National Farmers Federation (NFF) also endorsed these global dialogues centred on livestock sustainability. Tony Mahar, the Chief Executive of NFF, reiterated the pivotal role of the livestock sector in Australia, contributing to a significant 38% of the nation’s agricultural output.

The discussions at the Rome conference revolved around pivotal themes like enhanced production, nutrition, environment, and life, emphasising the indispensable role of the livestock sector in delivering vital nutrients and augmenting the global protein reservoir.