According to Norton, achieving the goal would put Australia head and shoulders above its competitors, giving consumers even more confidence in the quality and integrity of Australian red meat and turning environmental criticism of the industry on its head. He said Australian red meat’s reputation was second to none amongst global consumers, but the industry must keep focus on changing consumer demands and act on emerging threats and market disruptors to prosper into the future.

“With industry commitment, the right policy settings and new investment in research, development and adoption, the Australian red meat industry can be carbon neutral by 2030, and we can be the first red meat exporting nation to do so”, said Norton.

To this end, he reported that MLA had initiated a project titled ‘A Carbon Neutral Red Meat Industry’ together with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) to identify pathways for the red meat industry, farm and processing sector included, to become carbon neutral. The project has identified a series of innovation and farm management options including the expanded use of legumes and dung beetles in pastures, savannah fire management in northern Australia, feed supplements, feedlotting and vegetation management. Genetic selection and a potential vaccine to reduce methane production in the rumen were other opportunities.

The final report is to be published in December 2017.