American and Australian Cattle Producers Commit to Partnership

by Andy Schwab

Leaders of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and Cattle Australia (CA) signed a joint statement last week at the Beef 2024 convention in Rockhampton, Australia to further the two organizations’ partnership on issues related to cattle health, lab-grown proteins, and sustainability.

“America’s cattle farmers and ranchers stand with Australia’s cattle producers and look forward to being partners in combatting foreign animal diseases, promoting sustainability, and ensuring proper oversight of lab-grown proteins,” said NCBA President Mark Eisele, a Wyoming rancher. “As a rancher, I understand the importance of proactively talking about the good work we do in both countries. Cattle producers provide significant benefits to the global population, from providing safe, wholesome real beef to implementing conservation practices that conserve millions of acres of prime wildlife habitat in the United States and Australia. This joint commitment will strengthen the partnership between American and Australian producers and support our efforts to educate the public on the benefits of raising cattle.”

“In signing the joint statement of priorities, we are encouraging the Australian and U.S. governments to join forces in combating devastating foreign animal diseases; promoting sustainable global trade that encourage efficient production practices; and ensuring science-based food safety and marketing regulations of emerging food technologies such as lab-grown proteins,” said CA Chair Garry Edwards.

The joint statement outlines both countries’ commitment to protecting cattle health and wellbeing with vaccine banks to counter the threat of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). While FMD only impacts cloven-hoofed animals and does not pose a risk to humans, the disease can still cause immense financial harm to farmers and ranchers. The United States has been FMD-free since 1929 and Australia has been FMD-free since 1872.

The statement also addressed the emergence of lab-grown proteins. While there are no lab-grown proteins that imitate beef currently authorized for retail in the U.S., several companies are attempting to bring these products to market. It is critically important that these products are properly vetted by regulatory authorities so they do not pose a potential risk to consumer health and food safety, and it is important that they are labeled in a way that is transparent to consumers so they can choose between naturally produced beef and lab-grown proteins. Additionally, the statement supports efforts to continue sharing information on cattle industry sustainability and promoting the benefits of cattle production such as improving wildlife habitat, natural water filtration, and greenspace protection benefits.

Following the statement signing, NCBA and CA will continue engaging with their respective governments to secure policies that protect cattle health, recognize the cattle industry’s sustainability, and ensure proper oversight of lab-grown protein.

View the full statement here.

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NCBA – 2024

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