Show Notes

Our guest on the podcast this week is Bonnie Skinner. 

Bonnie is the CEO of Sheep Producers Australia (SPA), a levy board that advocates for a better future for Australia’s sheep industry. They do this in a multitude of ways: connecting farmers, consumers and government bodies. They advocate for better outcomes for farmers and direct levy investments towards research, development and industry services.

In this episode, Bonnie and Mark discuss the current challenges faced by the industry - be it artificial proteins, climate change or getting new entrants into the industry - and also what the future holds for lamb and wool producers. 

It’s not all doom and gloom, explains Bonnie: “In terms of providing that light on the hill, there is an immense opportunity for lamb as a protein, if we can continue to meet the needs of our consumers.” 

“Of course, we are already world-renowned for a high-quality, very consistent product in the industry. We know we can continue to improve on that. But what is the customer willing to pay for? How much room is there to really drive that price up, particularly at a retail level?” These are the questions that SPA are asking, and working towards answering, with industry support. 

Another issue faced by the industry is the uptake of new technologies and practices. One example being scanning for multiples. Despite the evidence that it will improve profitability and production on-farm, only 42% of Australian producers scan their ewes and, of these, 69% scan for dry, single and multiple foetuses.

“We've got 10-15% of producers at the top, the early adopters. They are taking up all of these opportunities,” explains Bonnie. “Then we have a good subset of producers underneath that, who are interested [but are not taking the next steps towards adoption]. How do we encourage producers to take up these practices?”

In this podcast, Bonnie explains the scope of SPA’s work for the industry: from identifying required research, right through to farmer implementation, and everything in between.

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