12 MAY 2025: The speech our CEO Anthony Lee delivered to the Droughtmaster conference so impressed the TV team at Beef2024 they took him into the on-site studio to record this interview. Here, he discusses how agriculture should be advocating for itself.

“My personal view is that we’re structurally set up incorrectly. We make it quite hard for ourselves when we’re dealing with big-picture issues that affect the whole of agriculture, not just beef but the whole sector – biosecurity, education, communication, those sorts of matters.

“We don’t really have a peak body that sits across the whole thing. I would liken it to the CEO of an organisation. We need the CEO and then we need the sub-sectors underneath.

“So, I just feel that it’s not set up there. It’s really hard.

“I’ve been pushing for ag education. It’s great that it’s in there in the curriculum, it’s a wonderful thing. Kids love it but we don’t teach it very well. It’s not the schools’ fault. It’s not the government’s fault. In my view it’s our fault.

“I think there’s a whole lot of solutions and I think we need to do is unite as an industry to fix it. I’m working on that but it’s taking a lot longer than I ‘d like, because I’m having to trying to work with 15-20 organisations versus one peak overall body.

“Imagine you go from pre-school to year 12 with no presence of agriculture and being told by others that it’s not a good industry, that’s it’s a dead-end industry and you shouldn’t go into it.

“How many people do you think are going to come through that system and want to go into agriculture? It’s too late.

“The speech I gave was ‘give me the child until they are seven and I will show you the person’. We’ve got to get in there at year one and have a presence, year two have a presence and year three and we need to do that for two reasons.

“One – to bring great people through into our industry and two – for people to understand our industry, our social licence.

“You know, we’re trying to do great things. The whole industry is behind sustainability and making great food and all those things, but it’s a challenge.

“We’re trying to work through it. There’s new tech and new innovation and new R&D needed. We need great people in our industry to help us solve these issues and improve on where we are today.”

Explaining why he allows visiting groups into the ACC Brisbane-based meat processing plant, he said: “I have a view that we need to open up our industry, the feedlots and the meat works particularly.

“The properties are wonderful. You go out there and it’s rolling hills and green grass and cattle; it’s lovely. Feedlots and processing are a bit more industrial – but they’re a critical part of the supply chain.

“Australia does it unbelievably well. We have the most stringent requirements, best animal welfare – all these wonderful things.

“And I have a personal view that we need to show the consumer that. I love taking people around our factory. We have a blue mile where you can go in your plain clothes and have a look at all the things.

“Most people think that’s a concern, but I have many, many times taking them through and we spend hours in there. People who don’t want to see it and all of a sudden we’re talking about all the things that go into the MSA, all the grading standards and where all the product goes and the stuff that people don’t know about.

“For example, we take the heart sac off the hearts every day and we put them into an ice slurry and we send it to Edwards LifeSciences in the US and it makes human heart valves.

“We about the most valuable per kilo bit on the body is and it’s the gall stone. We get a couple of hundred thousand per kilo for it. There’s not a lot of it in the animal and then south-east Asians they slice it thinly and it’s a bit of an aphrodisiac, believe it or not.

What it demonstrates is that we use every single part of the animal. Nothing goes to waste.

“And what you need is market access to all parts of the world because what you and I consume is important and what other parts of the world think is important are all different.

“Our job is to find a use for every single skerrick of the animal to make sure that we’re maximising the value but also doing the best by that animal.”

Beef TV attracted more than 79,000 unique website views were recorded across five days of broadcasting and 40 hours of content. Approximately 60% of viewers were tuning in from overseas, with the biggest audiences watching from Indonesia, Philippines, and Venezuela.