QUESTIONS still surround exactly how and when a new peak body representing grass-fed cattle producers will kick into action but it has now become clear there will be no super organisation taking up the reins on July 1.
From then, the restructure steering committee which has been driving the process of creating a replacement for Cattle Council of Australia, which they have called Cattle Australia, will be disbanded.
It has produced a constitution outlining a new democratically-elected structure, a medium-term funding solution to allow for elections to be held and a database to help facilitate the elections.
It appears Cattle Council will remain in place in its current form for the time being.
Cattle Council says it is committed to seeing the new democratised body put in place.
However, there is no time frame on when the election will be held. It could be put off for another six months.
Chair of the restructure committee Andrew Macaulay said the medium-term funding offered up to run the more democratic elections was via 'extended relationships with Meat & Livestock Australia and the Red Meat Advisory Council.'
The restructure committee was unable to provide a long-term funding model.
"The closer we looked into it, it was increasingly clear that anything outside two years of funding was beyond the steering committee's remit," he said.
"There has been a lot of talk about access to the transaction levy but that really is a discussion for the new board of Cattle Australia."
Asked if he felt it was possible to come up with sustainable funding for such a group, he said: "It will be a lengthy and complicated process but not an impossible one."
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Cattle Council insiders said the RMAC and MLA money needed to run the democratic elections was still not a given.
Chair of the Red Meat Advisory Council John McKillop confirmed his organisation had been asked to bring forward two years of funding from the Red Meat Industry Fund, saying it was happy to do that as long as the Federal Government signed off on it.
"But it is a precarious thing to do - like handing your child their inheritance early and hoping they don't blow it," he said.
"You only get one crack at it."
He said he hoped Cattle Australia did 'get up' because a strong, united voice was needed for the grass-fed cattle producer.
"We need people to stop pushing their own agendas, stop thinking one sector is so different to any other. It's all one industry and lumpy skin and foot and mouth disease will show that," he said.
Indeed, Mr Macaulay also touched on the difficulties of bringing together the sector as one.
"There is true divergence of opinions in this industry - on a regional, sectorial and scale level," he said.
"It's an enormously diverse industry and in some cases there is not a great understanding, or tolerance for, other sectors.
"Our challenge has been to balance the voices so we ended up with something that represented all of industry, not just some segments."
Many producers feel the road to a new, viable peak body is still very tenuous but Mr Macaulay insisted the steering committee process had been a success.
"This was never going to be a flick-of-the-switch process," he said.
"We can't go from what Cattle Council is today to a superpower overnight. The next stage will be incumbent on a new and democratically-elected board of Cattle Australia and they will need to be aspirational and visionary."
There was, however, broad industry consensus that a revitalised, democratic, agile peak body was the end game, he said.
And that process was now far more defined than it was six months ago, when there were a lot of unknowns.
"What we discovered was to move without risk, there needed to be a new constitution formed and that needed to supersede the Cattle Council constitution," Mr Macaulay said.
"We now have that constitution and it must be accepted by the founding shareholders, the State Farming Organisations, and there is commitment they will drive it forward.
"We have succeeded in a febrile environment with some very strongly held points of view.
"What we are getting to now is a position where all parties will be accommodated."