Videos launched to connect city eaters with rural growers

CONNECTING city people with country food growers is the driving reason behind a series of YouTube videos released by the Australia Lot Feeders Association today.

ALFA has released the first of a two part series of YouTube videos featuring two families involved in the cattle feedlot industry: Don and Barb Madden from Smithfield feedlot and Tim and Tammy Stiller from Weroona feedlot. 

The initiative aims to help bridge the city/ country disconnect by providing an insight into the lives and daily activities of lot feeders. 

Madie Hamilton, ALFA Executive Officer, said the latest research showed that while consumers are now more interested in how food is produced, they have never been more disconnected from the industry that produces it, agriculture.

She said the latest initiative aimed to humanise the industry by showing that whilst consumers may not understand what happens on a feedlot they can relate to people and their families as they go about their daily lives. 

"ALFA is keen to show the general public what is involved in producing this country's finest grain fed beef through showcasing the Australian cattle feedlot industry in such videos as these. We have nothing to hide. We are a proud industry," Ms Hamilton said.

She said it was hoped that by showing a small snapshot of the lives of these families, they can better understand and empathise with the sector, particularly surrounding the importance lot feeders place on issues such as animal health and welfare.   

The series is broadly split into the summer and winter seasons to showcase the different activities undertaken by the families in their communities and the cattle at the feedlot. 

The winter series is currently being filmed with the next series of videos to be released in the next few months.

The initiative has been managed by ALFA and is funded utilising grain fed cattle levies.

Their say

Cattle producer Barb Madden, who is a director at Smithfield feedlot said the YouTube series was a chance for the industry to tell their own stories.

"For the past couple of years at least there's been lots of ill-informed negative stories floating around about agriculture, and particularly the beef industry," she said.

"We just felt that as a family, we needed to get involved to get a positive story out there about what we do, and how we do it.

"In my opinion, social media is a bit of a double-edged sword.  On one hand, you could argue that it attracts the attention of the nay-sayers, but on the other, if everybody takes that attitude, then nothing gets done to defend our industry.

"You have to pick your fights, but simply demonstrating the human side of the industry is important. We're all just people here, with families and working as part of broader communities."

The industry

ALFA regularly holds feedlot tours for those interested in finding out more about the grain fed beef production system.

If you are a blogger, chef, school group or someone interested in visiting a cattle feedlot, please get in touch with Madeleine Hamilton at ALFA madeleine.hamilton@feedlots.com.au or on (02) 9290 3700 to express your interest.

One of the bloggers from our latest blogger tour has written about their tour experience here: http://www.ecochick.com/blog/beef-producers-open-up-on-animal-welfare-and-environment.html



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