Opinion: AgForce to host renowned international speaker to foster ag industry advocacy at Beef 2015
 

As released by AgForce Queensland 

By Bim Struss, AgForce Cattle President

MORE than ever agriculture must continually defend its right to operate as extreme groups including PETA and Animals Australia seek to create panic within the consuming public via baseless claims they are rarely held to verify.

At AgForce, we know this is an increasing part of our job as industry advocates - to bring fact to the discussion and to demonstrate the outstanding work being undertaken by our members in the animal welfare and environmental space. With this in mind, AgForce Queensland, in conjunction with Cattle Council of Australia and Meat and Livestock Australia, is proud to present internationally renowned timer industry advocate, Bruce Vincent, at our Beef 2015 Policy Seminar next week.

In the late 1980s the timber industry was doing well and enjoying high commodity prices, however at the same time a series of lawsuits were filed by groups that did not want the forest to be managed. The litigants enjoyed the support of the public that loved to utilise timber products but did not understand or desire the 'stumps' left by logging. As forest families and communities began to suffer, Bruce and his family decided to speak out.

"The public has trouble understanding how people who make a living harvesting animals can really care for those animals and that same public body has trouble understanding how people who make a living harvesting trees can really care for the forest," Bruce said.

"In both of our industry discussions, the public is shown the worst of the processes from industry and are asked if they like what they see or should industry have their social license remove.

"Seldom is the public shown the myriad of possible answers to their perceived problems concerning animal welfare, grazing land, riparian protection and clean water."

And this is where Bruce is adamant primary producers themselves must be at the forefront of the debate.

"After a decade of fighting over the issue of forestry, we learned that there was a difference between fighting and leading this discussion," he said.

"Our 15,000 person rallies and tens-of-miles-long convoys made us feel good for a moment but we finally figured out that we were the third ring of a three ring circus and someone else was taking the gate receipts. We were, sadly, participating nicely in the business strategy developed by those who need 'conflict' to survive.

Bruce is also clear the people who are best positioned to bridge the gap between the public and the operations necessary to provide them with beef (and other agricultural commodities) are the producers.

"The issues facing the industry and the social license to operate are not going to be settle in board rooms but in consumer living rooms and over consumers' backyard fences," he said.

"The public wants to peer into a human face and question someone they can trust - and that face is the face of the cattleman."

Bruce Vincent is an insightful and impressive advocate who I am very much looking forward to speaking with in person at our Beef 2015 Policy Forum - Beef Beyond 2015 - Meating Consumers and Our Own Expectations. 

I encourage you join me and AgForce Cattle at this special event. 

The seminar will be held on Tuesday 5 May 2015, from 3.30pm to 5.30pm in the James Lawrence Pavilion - Gallagher Energizer Room. Tickets are free for AgForce members (registrations essential) or $15 per ticket for non-members.

To register go to www.agforceqld.org.au. AgForce members not attending Beef Week can watch the seminar live on the day here.

Ends.

AgForce media and communications:
Stacey Milner  0418 733 102 or milners@agforceqld.org.au
Nadine Long 0427 626 853 or longn@agforceqld.org.au

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