What’s next for Australia’s favourite protein?

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AgriFutures Australia has announced a new five-year research, development and extension (RD&E) plan for Australia’s $6.6 billion dollar chicken meat industry. The AgriFutures Chicken Meat Program RD&E Plan (2022-2027) sets the agenda to grow the long-term prosperity of the industry.

The Australian chicken meat industry is already a big player, accounting for nearly half of Australia’s domestic meat consumption, contributing almost $3 billion to the national economy, and employing more than 58,000 people – many in rural and regional communities.

The new AgriFutures Chicken Meat Program RD&E Plan (2022-2027) aims to address the issues and opportunities facing the industry to further drive the sustainability, productivity and viability of the Australian chicken meat industry.

The Plan guides all of AgriFutures Chicken Meat Program’s RD&E investments for the next five years. There are five key priorities for research in the Plan including improving environmental and sustainability outcomes, enhancing chicken biosecurity, health and welfare, ensuring food safety, building a capable and sustainable workforce, and contributing to efficient and secure production systems.

AgriFutures Chicken Meat Advisory Panel Chair, Katherine Balding highlighted the Plan has been developed following a comprehensive consultation process and thanked the industry for their contribution.

“Consultation was crucial in shaping the priorities for the new Plan. An extensive industry consultation was undertaken with key stakeholders to help identify and prioritise the major factors expected to affect the chicken meat industry in the coming five years,” Katherine said.

“To identify these factors the industry was asked to reflect on the challenges and changes they have experienced over the past few years due to significant events like droughts, floods and COVID.

“From this, we were able to build priorities to future-proof the Australian chicken meat industry. In the Plan, our audience will see a focus on building people capability and a diverse and sustainable workforce, while keeping environmental sustainability, food safety, welfare, biosecurity, and efficient production systems as high priorities on our list too.

“It’s also exciting to see parallels between priorities in the new Plan and AgriFutures Australia’s 5-year strategic plan. To me this speaks volumes about the partnership and support we receive from AgriFutures Australia in building the long-term prosperity of the Australian chicken meat industry,” Katherine said.

Senior Manager for the AgriFutures Chicken Meat Program, Amanda Olthof, noted the Plan builds upon a solid foundation.

“The new Plan builds upon the previous plans’ priorities of food safety, environment, and the supply chain while also including some new and enhanced areas for investment,” Amanda said.

“These include new focus areas to ensure the workforce needs of the sector are met and that the industry is capable to adopt outcomes from the research program, support is provided to enhance animal welfare and the creation of an Australian Chicken Meat Sustainability Framework which reflects the industry’s focus on caring for natural resources and reduction of environmental impacts.”

Amanda emphasised that the AgriFutures Chicken Meat Program aims to make a real difference to Australia’s chicken meat industry and has already commenced the process of investing in research projects under the new Plan.

“We want to ensure the Program’s RD&E outcomes are useful and adopted by end users and we are excited to see the impact this research will have on the ground.”

“The key to delivering this impact is facilitating learning and change among growers, researchers, and other industry participants and we are committed to building industry capability to do so.”

“The Program has hit the ground running with calls for research that align with the new priorities already underway.”

Sign up for the AgriFutures Australia chicken meat subscription list to be notified of funding opportunities.

Read the AgriFutures Chicken Meat Program RD&E Plan (2022-2027)

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