Monthly Catch-up: Christian Mulders
28 Sep 2017
This month we caught up with Christian Mulders, Australian Lot Feeders Association CEO about his experiences and thoughts on the industry.
You have quite the history within the industry, what inspired you to study agriculture?
I was raised in Sydney but have a country heart. I had a passion for nature, plants, animals and the Aussie bush from an early age. Plus my grandfather owned butcher shops, which gave me an understanding of the importance of food production – and the taste for a great steak. Studying Agricultural Economics at Sydney University gave me the opportunity to work for the Meat Research Corporation and then various industry roles spanning 20 years.
What do you love the most about your role?
At a high level, being part of an Association that contributes to the prosperity of Australia’s red meat and livestock industry which, on so many levels, is such an important sector for Australia. On a personal level, being part of a team who are single minded about delivering outcomes that make a difference to our member’s businesses, the lives of the people who work in those businesses and the fantastic product they produce.
Do you have any highlights from along the way?
Throughout my career I have been involved in industry systems such as Livestock Production Assurance, the National Livestock Identification Scheme, National Vendor Declarations and more recently the National Feedlot Accreditation Scheme – all of which underpin the integrity of our product and deliver Australian red meat’s enviable reputation around the globe.
A key highlight was development of the Meat Industry’s Animal Welfare Certification System which is an independently audited animal welfare program linked to a certified trademark that enables meat processors to demonstrate their commitment to best practice. The program boasts coverage of over 80% of meat production and the trademark has been adopted commercially at retail, including by the ALDI supply chain. That’s something I’m really proud of.
What do you think is the biggest challenge the industry is currently facing?
The price of red meat products at retail comparative to other proteins is certainly challenging on the domestic front; as is the growing divide between urban and rural Australia and the relative knowledge of everyday Australian’s about how their food is produced. The processing sector is also experiencing a very tough trading environment at the moment, with a number of reported closures. As the world’s largest exporter of beef and goatmeat and second largest for sheepmeat, maximising market access opportunities remains the red meat and livestock industry’s number one priority.
Do you think the industry is well positioned for the future?
With over 75,000 businesses directly employing over 178,000 people who all contribute to earning around $18B for the Australian economy, the prosperity of the Nation is linked to the prosperity of the whole red meat and livestock sector. Industry, through the Red Meat Advisory Council, is investing in the Meat Industry Strategic Plan 2020, developed to unlock up to $7B in additional growth for Australian red meat and livestock businesses. We also have in place genuine industry government partnership platforms, such as Animal Health Australia and SAFEMEAT, dedicated to protecting Australia’s great reputation and growing opportunities and prosperity for the women and men who work hard to produce the world’s greatest red meat.