Harnessing digital media in the beef industry

Harnessing digital media in the beef industry


Stock and Land Beef
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Digital technologies are changing the way livestock producers do business.

Digital technologies are changing the way livestock producers do business.

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Garry Edwards, the founder and chief executive of the AAM Investment Group that operates across agriculture, commercial property and infrastructure, announced the company would launch a system in the next 12 months to put all the Regional Infrastructure Pty Limited markets online.

He said online systems currently represented about three to five per cent of the livestock selling market, but by putting RIPL’s throughput of 800,000 cattle and 2.5 million sheep online, it would more than double the online availability of livestock.

He said their system would be underpinned by independent assessment and the physical market, as well as the efficiencies of saleyards consolidation.

“So the strategy we’re doing is to bring this technology and bring it all together to make it work for the greatest outcome for all,” Mr Edwards said.

He said he expected people to continue being time poor and taking up technology, and as a result they would likely spend less time going to markets and instead would want real time reporting of results.

Garry Edwards, the founder and chief executive of the AAM Investment Group, spoke about changes to the livestock selling system.

Garry Edwards, the founder and chief executive of the AAM Investment Group, spoke about changes to the livestock selling system.

Jon Condon, Beef Central, called on livestock producers to use digital technologies, especially social media, to tell their own stories to defend farming’s social licence to operate and counter ‘animal welfare’ groups’ campaigns.  

Mr Condon said there were examples of individual videos making change, for example US ranchers Troy and Stacy Hadrick, South Dakota, made a minute-long video of Troy explaining his anger that Yellowtail Wines was giving monetary support to the Humane Society of the United States, which he said was anti-farming. 

He then poured the wine from a Yellowtail bottle onto the ground and urged other farmers to do the same. 

The video went viral and pushed Yellowtail’s owners to retract their support of the group. 

Mr Condon said while there were primary producers who posted on various social media account, he argued there’s been a loss momentum in social media uptake. 

He said Australia’s red meat industry had great stories to tell and any story about food was of human interest and thus suited to social media.

“As important as it is for beef producers everywhere to engage with social media, they can only do so much.”

He said RSPCA Australia had 276,000 likes of its Facebook page and Animals Australia has more than 1.5 million; compared to MLA’s 16,000.

“And how many already industry converts like you or I?” 

He said animals welfare groups were well financed and had “well-oiled social media machines”.

“As thin as it might be on facts and heavy on emotions, their agenda is to try to win the argument with sheer numbers.”

Mr Condon said the industry needed to do and he suggested the collective industry could move to better resource and coordinate social media responses and campaigns.

“Here’s a thought; when the current cattle transaction levy was raised from $3.50 to $5 back in 2004 – so that’s 13 years ago – the term social media had not even been invented.

“There was no Facebook, no Twitter, no Google, no YouTube.

“I pose the question, should the collective industry now be throwing more into the social media space given the growing public challenge it faces by these groups.

“Taking a large chunk of money out of the industry’s current revenue stream to fund stronger social media would mean robbing something else 

“Instead perhaps it’s time to start a conversation about raising the transaction levy a little specifically to drive a stronger and more vigorous social media presence.”

He said for example an extra 30c could raise between $3 million and $5 million each year, which could go towards projects including social media campaigns.

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