Sheep producers attend Bendigo forum

Speaker: Sheepmeat Council's Kate Joseph speaks at the Victorian Sheepmeat producer's forum on Tuesday. Picture: JIM ALDERSEY

Speaker: Sheepmeat Council's Kate Joseph speaks at the Victorian Sheepmeat producer's forum on Tuesday. Picture: JIM ALDERSEY

Sheep farmers and meat producers interested in learning more about the state of the sheep meat industry met in Bendigo on Tuesday.

The Victorian sheepmeat producer forum, held at the conference centre at the All Seasons Hotel, hosted about 40 people.

Kate Joseph, VFF representative on the Sheepmeat Council, said the forum was a joint initiative of the Sheepmeat Council of Australia and Victorian Farmers Federation which aimed to get "grassroots" feedback.

"Running these forums is an opportunity to come and tell us what the issues are for them in their area, because it varies all around Australia," she said.

One of the forum's four speakers, Ms Joseph said the plan was to have a similar forum for sheep producers in each state.

She said a similar forum would be held in NSW in August, with similar forums held recently in Queensland and Tasmania and another one planned for WA.

"We localise it and base our speakers on what the topics of interest are in that area. So we meet with the state farming federations, to choose the venue and the speakers that are topical."

Other guest speakers at the event were VFF livestock president Ian Feltman, Meat and Livestock Australia's global marketing general manager Michael Edmonds and researcher Dr Alex Ball.

The speakers chosen for Tuesday's event in Bendigo spoke on topics with a special focus on meat-eating quality, marketing and meeting the consumers' demand, she said.

The forum was timed to coincide with BestWool/BestLamb conference dinner later on Tuesday, with the idea that collaborating with the dinner would ensure as many producers as possible could attend the event.

"We’ve backed it onto the Best Wool/Best Lamb conference dinner tonight, hoping people might come a bit earlier and go to the forum," Ms Joseph said.

In the end Tuesday's turnout was good, she said, although stormy weather had likely kept some away.

"I’m from down near Portland and I know a few people have pulled out because of the weather," she said.

"If you’re lambing and there’s trees over fences and things like storm damage, there are issues.

"But we seem to have a good turnout, so that’s great." 

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