National Farmers' Federation

Australia’s sustainability livestock story shared on the global stage

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has this week closely watched the developments at the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Global Conference on Sustainable Livestock, where Australia’s sustainability message was highlighted.

The NFF acknowledges the FAO for supporting global dialogue on the future of the livestock sector that is grounded in science and evidence-based discussion. This is the right forum for such a global discussion.

Particularly, the NFF commends the Australian Government for sharing the overwhelmingly positive sustainability story of the Australian livestock sector.  

Agriculture Trade Group Deputy Secretary, Nicola Hinder, told the conference “the Australian red meat industry has reduced emissions by 65% since 2005, and our wheat and grass-fed beef farms are below the global median for emissions intensity”.

Ms Hinder also importantly noted the diversity in agricultural contexts regarding sustainability must be recognised.  

NFF CEO Tony Mahar echoed these sentiments. 

“These discussions are critically important, and we need to continue to acknowledge there is no one-size fits all approach to agricultural sustainability.” 

The conference discussed the key themes of better production, nutrition, environment, and life, highlighting the livestock sector plays a central role in providing important nutrients for a healthy diet and a third of global protein.

“The livestock sector accounts for 38% of Australia’s agricultural production. It’s important to the livelihoods of thousands of Australian farmers and productively uses the significant amount of Australia’s land not suitable to cropping.”

Measuring enteric methane remains an important issue to resolve as GWP* or similar looks to be more accurate and representative.

Mr Mahar endorsed the Government’s call for a reduction in harmful agricultural supports and market distorting policies, the ongoing commitment to the role of the multi-lateral trading system, and its aims of open and fair markets.  

“These policies actually create poorer environmental outcomes. If we are serious about sustainability, these must also be on the table for discussion.” 

Mr Mahar emphasised the importance of fast-tracking innovation that mitigates livestock related GHG emission and reiterated the importance of Australia’s world class research and development system as a far more effective way to ensure sustainability outcomes are achieved.  

“The NFF is committed to building on this discussion on sustainable livestock and looks forward to the industry’s perspective on the important role livestock has in modern agriculture and food systems at the UNFCCC COP28 in Dubai later this year.”