Naracoorte Lucindale Council received $150,000 in funding through Round 1 and Round 2 of the Premium Food and Wine Co-Innovation Cluster Program to develop greater collaboration across the red meat value chain in the Limestone Coast. The Limestone Coast Red Meat Cluster (LCRMC) was established in recognition of the importance of the red meat industry to the region’s economy and the need to build a deeper understanding of the industry, and find ways to grow the industry through collaboration.
“We recognise that industry collaboration is a slow evolving process. Our current focus on producer skills, research and building industry connections is laying the groundwork for future collaborative opportunities. At the same time, it is helping red meat businesses to become more profitable.” - Mr Peter Stock, Chair, Limestone Coast Red Meat Cluster Strategy Group.
The establishment of LCRMC was overseen by a dedicated Strategy Group, comprising red meat producers, livestock agents and transporters, red meat retailers, processors, financial institutions, the University of Adelaide, Local Government representatives and the Mackillop Farm Management Group. In Round 1, the project focussed on industry engagement, mapping the value chain and data analysis work to define the dimensions of the regional industry, as well as mapping livestock flows, supply and demand patterns and profitability trends. In Round 2, these activities and the findings of the reports were explored further, resulting in the implementation of a number of projects. For example, the release of a data analysis report provided a number of points of focus for the project, particularly around barriers for producer profitability. This led to the establishment of a program to develop producer skills in financial management as an important first step to building business growth. Other projects have involved work on developing business models to support collaborative farming and education and engagement activities.
Red meat production (beef and sheep) and meat processing is the second largest sector contributor to the Limestone Coast’s Gross Regional Product. There are 1,700 cattle and 4,400 sheep enterprises in the Limestone Coast and two thirds of agricultural land in the region is used for livestock grazing or modified pastures, meaning it is by far the predominant agricultural activity.
As a result of the funding received under the Program, the Cluster now has a diverse network of over 250 people engaged in their activities. The Cluster has made significant strides to also transform the culture of the sector, drive innovation and identify opportunities for collaboration.
“Given the large number of livestock producers and the value of the industry for the region, there was a need for a collaborative body to bring the different components of the value chain together. It was recognised that even small gains in profitability for each enterprise would have a significant impact on the regional economy.” - Mr Peter Stock, Chair, Limestone Coast Red Meat Cluster Strategy Group.
Moving ahead, the Cluster is looking to implement the following ongoing projects to continue the success of their collaboration:
- Red Meat Industry Leadership – which may include roles for advocacy, investment, partnerships with local and state government, infrastructure, leadership/mentoring programs and building a collaborative culture.
- Skills development, including financial, family farm governance, collaboration and innovation.
- Value chain connectivity, linking producers to processors and retail opportunities.
- Research into quality and production efficiency, through partnerships with research institutions and industry bodies.
Further information on the Limestone Coast Red Meat Cluster can be found on their website: www.limestonecoastredmeat.com.au.