Highlights from launch attendees

Highlights from launch attendees

May 31 2023

Hear from three sheep and wool producers who attended the launch of the SSF Annual Report 2023. 

  • Andrew Michael – MLA Director and sheep and wool producer, Snowtown, SA 
  • Helen Carrigan – WoolProducers Australia director and wool producer, Moree, NSW 
  • Ed Dunn – MH Premium Farms chief executive officer, Wagga Wagga, NSW

MLA director and SA sheep and wool producer Andrew Michael, MH Premium Farms Chief Executive Officer Ed Dunn, and WoolProducers Australia director and NSW sheep and wool producer Helen Carrigan. Image: Edwina Clowes.

What was the highlight for you, from today’s event? 

Andrew: “A standout was seeing the materiality matrix for the Australian sheep industry (page 21 of the SSF Annual Report 2023) – it showed what factors influence stakeholders’ decisions so we can really benchmark improvements and issues moving forward.” 

Helen: “It really shows how important sustainability on-farm is to people in the journey beyond the farm gate. Animal welfare, labour, workplace safety, farm succession – it all links into the bigger picture.”  

Ed: “It’s good to see how the Framework doesn’t just track environment sustainability – it also recognises social and economic factors. It was great to see the progress our industry has been able to make against some of the SSF indicators. Our business is very evidence-based, so the Framework provides us with a guide to what stakeholders see as important. It’s a structure to look at our own business and how we’re tracking against the sustainability metrics.” 

What does the SSF Annual Report 2023 mean for producers? 

Andrew: “Practically, the ‘so what’ for producers is going to be the financial returns to their business. It can be difficult to understand the market signals from our trading partners and connect these to the on-farm changes required, such as to achieve carbon neutrality. That’s why industry events such as this are so important, to understand how important what happens on-farm is beyond the farm gate and how it can impact trade, which does flow back to producers’ businesses.” 

Helen: “I found the National Producer Survey (undertaken by AWI and MLA in 2022 in partnership with SSF and the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework) to be a really important tool for producers to see a sample of on-farm practices. The insights from the survey led to a campaign to ensure producers are using pain management properly, so it demonstrates how this data has practical developments for the industry.” 

Ed: “It’s important to recognise that the Framework doesn’t label producers as sustainable or unsustainable – it’s about identifying the areas of our industry which people, such as our customers, are concerned about and the things we can do better. It can be hard for many producers to really understand what sustainability is from the perspective of the EU and other markets. So, while this information doesn’t tell producers explicitly what to do, it does map out the areas our customers are focused on. It’s a good place to start, to look at sustainability and what it means on-farm, to identify areas producers could address in their own business.” 

Where would you like to see the sheep and wool industry focus on over the next 12 months? 

Andrew: Looking ahead, I would really encourage producers to focus on the traceability of animal husbandry practices, such as pain relief and mulesing status, as these have a significant influence on decisions made by the sheep and wool industry’s customers.  

Helen: I’m looking forward to the planned development of a dashboard of SSF data, so it’s readily available to producers. I’d also like to see traceability as a bigger priority for producers, and for them to see the value in doing it, such as QA programs and market access.” 

Ed: “It’s important to see continued improvement in areas such as animal welfare. I’d also like to see tools for people to measure biodiversity on-farm. Safety is another factor highlighted today – it’s so important in sheep and wool businesses.” 

More information


E: eclowes@mla.com.au