Those of my readers who follow me on Facebook or Twitter might have seen me mention Target 100 once or twice in the last week or so. An admirable new initiative by Meat & Livestock Australia, Target 100 aims to deliver sustainable cattle and sheep farming in Australia by 2020. Sustainability is no recent thing for the Australian meat industry which has been investing in environmental research and development for many years. By implementing a selection of 100 individual research, development and extension initiatives which will be funded through the various meat industry organisations, the industry intends to focus this and reduce the resources it uses, thus reducing it’s footprint, improve it’s efficiency and provide a a focal point for environmental, social and ethical farming action to ensure a sustainable food source.
Target 100 is clearly an initiative which has taken some time to put together, as even the most cursory look at the list of 100 separate projects will show. The projects vary in scope and size from small initiatives such as the publication of producer guides for the various aspects of biodiversity on farms or a a comprehensive collation of best practice modern grazing enterprises in southern Australia, to major projects like research into ways to reduce the costs and length of time it takes to create biogas from solid wastes. Not simply focusing on the agricultural aspect of the Australian meat industry, Target 100 projects also include social goals to aid in sustaining regional communities and ethical goals to promote and improve the welfare of livestock.
Importantly,the media tools used to promote this project will attempt to address the perceived disconnect between city-based consumers and our rural producers. Taking advantage of the magic of technology and the internet, Target 100 will have regular live online forum sessions, beginning this weekend at 5 pm (EST) on Sunday April 1 with renowned environmentalist, former Australian of the Year and Chief Commissioner for the Climate Commission, Professor Tim Flannery. There is also a Twitter stream at @Target100AUS which you can join to become part of the conversation, interact with producers and the industry generally become an active part of Target 100.
I was fortunate enough to attend the launch of this exciting new initiative in Sydney earlier this week, where we enjoyed an exceptional meal prepared by noted Sydney chef Justin North and his staff, using some of our prime meat products. Justin spoke, as part of the launch, about his commitment to using as much of each beast as was humanly possible and his desire to educate the Australian consumer about some of the lesser-known cuts of meat and, to that end, served us a meltingly delicious slow-cooked beef brisket as part of the main course. I listened to Professor Flannery talk about the positive impact that this kind of initiative will have on our environment and also to a young Queensland farmer speak with sincere passion and commitment about the projects he and his family are employing on their property as part of Target 100.
As both a consumer and small-time primary producer I believe I have a foot in both camps here and I can only feel excited at the possibilities which a project like this can open up. There is currently a distinct and growing interest in ethically and sustainably produced meat and if you are one of those who care about good quality meat, where it comes from and how it gets to you then I hope you will join in the conversation at Target 100.
You can view the full list of 100 industry initiatives, their timing and current status here.