Sheep industry insight

The first Annual Report of the Sheep Sustainability Framework (SSF) will be released at the Australian Sheep and Wool Show in Bendigo on Friday, to deliver a transparent and data-driven snapshot of the sustainability performance of the nation’s sheep and wool industry.

Launched in April 2021, the SSF is the world’s first framework of its type for sheep and wool and was developed to clearly define sustainable production, prioritise industry issues and measure industry performance against relevant ethical, environmental, social and economic measures.

SSF Sustainability Steering Group (SSG) Chair and respected livestock veterinarian Dr Scott Williams said the annual report would help industry to better understand its opportunities, challenges, successes and impacts, while allowing it to demonstrate its commitment to sustainable production and continual improvement.

“Australia has taken a globally significant leadership role in sustainable sheep and wool production by developing the first framework of this type,” Dr Williams said.

“The SSF will help industry capture a thorough, data-driven understanding of how we are performing, and we are excited to share the first Annual Report with our consumers, customers and value chains.

“This is an important moment for Australian sheep and wool businesses and one that will help to inform and support future priorities and investment to deliver on our vision of sustainably producing the world’s best sheep meat and wool, now and into the future.”

The SSF is underwritten by 41 indicators spanning the four key themes of “caring for our sheep”, “enhancing the environment and climate”, “looking after our people, our customers and the community” and “ensuring a financially resilient industry”.

“Over the past 12 months, data has been collected to inform the annual report through projects including a national animal husbandry survey, a lifecycle analysis and the development of a sheep grazing seasonal groundcover model using satellite data.

Dr Williams said it was fitting the first Annual Report be presented at the Australian Sheep and Wool Show – the largest event of its type in the world.

“In addition to presenting the annual report, our launch event will include an address from Chair of the Sheep Sustainability Framework Board and well-known industry leader, Lucinda Corrigan,” he said.

“There will also be a panel discussion on the interconnectivity between climate change, biosecurity, and market access with commentary from Professor Richard Eckard (University of Melbourne), Dr Andrew Whale (Australian Veterinary Association), Laura Timmins (Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment), Bonnie Skinner (Sheep Producers Australia) and Jo Hall (WoolProducers Australia).

“Of course, we’ll also serve a lunch of premium and sustainably produced Australian lamb.”

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