Australia's pork industry, which has an annual farm-gate value of $1 billion, contributes $3 billion annually to the national economy and generates 8000 jobs, has welcomed the announcement by Federal Innovation Minister, Senator Kim Carr, that the Pork Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) has been funded for a further eight years.
After thanking the Federal Government for its $20 million commitment, Pork CRC Chairman, Dr John Keniry, congratulated his rebid team, headed by Dr Rob van Barneveld, with support from CEO Dr Roger Campbell, Dr Darryl D'Souza of APL, Mr Rod Hamann of Australian Pork Farms and Dr Brian Luxford of Rivalea.
"We are also very grateful to the Pork CRC's 40 participants, all of whom I thank for their enthusiasm and support, and their commitment of $18 million in cash and $94 million in-kind over the eight years, commencing July 1, 2011," Dr Keniry said.
"In particular, I welcome the involvement of the RSPCA and retailers in the new Pork CRC, as this will help us focus on meeting the needs and expectations of consumers."
The rebid, titled 'High Integrity Australian Pork', comprised four research programs:
- Confinement free sow and piglet management
- New generation health management and antibiotic reduction
- Healthy pork consumption
- Carbon-conscious inputs and outputs
Dr Keniry said the Australian pork industry had to maintain local production of high quality food at a reasonable price and an acceptable return on production capital invested, while improving pig welfare, the environment and consumer health.
With innovative, collaborative, whole value chain research, development and education programs, the Pork CRC would meet the challenge by facilitating production that:
- is efficient and ethical without needing sow confinement in stalls or crates, or widespread use of medications
- delivers key nutrients safely, enhancing the health and well-being of consumers
- utilises revolutionary feed sources and effluent management systems resulting in emissions of less than 1 kg of CO2 per kg of pork produced
- contributes significantly to Australia's economic growth and food security without drawing on the ecological capital of other parts of the world.
According to Dr Keniry, delivering these outcomes will differentiate Australian pork as a 'high integrity' meat that is welfare-optimal, premium quality, safe and nutritious.
"The Pork CRC will help ensure Australian pork is produced conserving energy and water resources, minimising greenhouse gas emissions and maintaining efficiency and cost of production at a level that promotes investment, growth and sustainability."