Monthly Archives September 2019

Future Farmers Network directors regularly give their opinion on the latest news, events and issues in agriculture for an article for Farmonline and The Land. Here’s the most recent yarn from director Isabel Coulton

In 1941, Winston Churchill envisioned that lab grown meat would be a reality in the future. Indeed, the creation of cultured or ‘lab grown meat’ has been in the works since the 2000s when NASA researched the idea for astronauts in space. 

It essentially involves the production of synthetic ‘meat’ from animal stem cells, and whilst there is no commercially available product on the market in Australia at the moment, many sources suggest that lab grown meat will be on shelves by 2021. 

The commercialisation of lab grown meat promises to the public a range of benefits such as the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, improving resource depletion from factory farming and combating antibiotic resistance. 

Does this then pose a threat to the agriculture livestock industry as we know it?  

There is no doubt that the agriculture industry has reaped the benefits of technology throughout the years, but it may be presumptive to see lab grown meat as a negative ‘disruptor’ to the current industry. 

Despite all the headlines, the real tangible benefits of lab grown meat for the everyday consumer may be greater than what the hype suggests. 

Scalability and cost are the two major issues that the cellular meat industry has yet to provide a practical solution, and the thought of mass commercial production is still in its very early stages. 

However, in circumstances where the cultured meat movement has to date gained substantive financial backing, including from Australian investors, to develop solutions to these impediments and cement lab grown meat in the consumer market, it may be that the livestock sector needs to accept and adapt to the development rather than resist the perceived threat. 

There are possibilities for the two industries to exist in the same sphere. 

Lab-grown meat is predominantly responding to the global consumer trends of health and wellbeing and ethics and sustainability – two trends which can also be responded to by the Australian livestock sector through the improvement of health and wellbeing of animals, sustainable environmental practices and, critically, the extensive promotion of the integrity of the industry and its practices to the consumer. 

At the end of the day, the consumer is increasingly seeking a natural, unadulterated food product – which the red meat industry of Australia is able to provide. 

As is natural consequence of competition generally, this new emerging market may be the push required for the livestock industry to sharpen and improve its practices, to cater and remain a viable option for the ever-demanding consumer.

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Four Future Farmers Network members have been selected to undertake Australian Government funded real-time Foot and Mouth Disease training in Nepal in November and December. They submitted informative videos about the importance of biosecurity for Australian Agriculture to be selected for the opportunity.  Let’s meet them! 

Amabel Grinter, Boonals Downs Dairy – senior farm hand animal production
I have been within the agricultural industry my entire life growing up on my families dairy farm in Northern Victoria. I have always had an interest in learning as much as possible to both implement and share with the dairy community. Since graduating from a bachelor of Agricultural Science, I have been working full time on farm. My passion is the cows, and in particular I am extremely interested in animal production, health and welfare. I am very eager to expand my knowledge in this area, including what measures should be implemented at a farm level to minimise bio security risks.

Check out Amabel’s video here.

Kari Moffat, Wellards Rural Exports – Compliance and Animal Welfare Manager
I am 25 years of age, and currently hold the position of Compliance and Animal Welfare Manager for one of Australia’s largest live export companies. I have a Bachelor of Agribusiness from Marcus Oldham College, and during my studies sailed as a head stockperson on over 20 voyages to Asian markets. My current role has me overseeing the traceability, health and welfare of thousands of Australian cattle through the live export supply chain. I am also a founding member and Secretary of the Young Livestock Exporters Network, which has members all over Australia. If chosen to participate in this training, I would like to present my learnings to our membership upon my return.

Check out Kari’s video here.

Stuart Richardson, Landmark – Account Manager Animal Health and Management
I have been with Landmark for nearly 3 years spending the first eighteen months at Landmark Kojonup then transferring to Landmark Esperance as an Account Manager – Animal Health and Management. My role is to look after Landmarks Animal Health clients with a focus on Sheep and Cattle enterprises. I offer client services such as, FWEC, blood sampling, grain and hay sampling, livestock programs and feed regimes to name a few. I hold multiple qualifications in the agricultural industry and attended the WA College of Agriculture in Harvey. I have a passion for the agricultural industry and believe that Australia’s Biosecurity is key to ensuring we keep a sustainable industry.

Check out Stuart’s video here.

Mikaela Baker, Total Result Ag Consulting – Ruminant Productivity Consultant
Before beginning my bachelor of Agricultural Science at CSU I participated in manywork experience placements. The biggest impact was a discussion with a DPI veterinarian on Epidemiology and a visit to the local Vet to discuss the FMD outbreak protocol. I currently work in SA for a private consulting business. I work closely with clients involved in dairy, sheep and beef, talk at farmer days, Ag shop days, conference committees, discussion groups and I run two discussion groups through TRAC. Throughout my education I was involved in a parliamentary tabling of a report on Youth in Ag, president of the Ag Races, inaugural events such as Women in Ag networking brunch, the Networking Ball and many more.

Check out Mikaela’s video here.

 

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