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MLA Hosts Study Tour of Japanese Farmers and Associations to Australia

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First in series of "Producer to Producer" initiatives to build grassroots understanding

Tokyo, Oct 25, 2012 - (ACN Newswire) - On October 25, 2012 a group of 10 Japanese beef industry influentials will visit Australia as guests of Meat & Livestock Australia ("MLA") on a Producer to Producer ("P2P") mission to gain a better understanding of the Australian beef industry and how producers in both countries can mutually support each other to the benefit of the industry as a whole.

This inaugural P2P mission comprises seven wagyu farmers from beef producing areas across Japan, one official from the Japanese National Livestock Breeding Centre and two officials affiliated with the powerful JA (Japan Agriculture Co-operatives).

During this visit, the Group will meet with farmers and industry members to learn of the Australian industry's commitment to produce quality and safe beef, discuss developments in sustainable agriculture, look at risk management initiatives, review efforts to deal with climate variations, and look at animal husbandry innovations that improve production efficiency, amongst a number of meetings and farm visits aimed at building firm collaborative relationships at the Producer to Producer level. The Group will travel to Melbourne, Canberra, where they will meet with government officials charged with building Australia's trade relationships, and Sydney.

MLA's P2P program, a bilateral industry program to help build long-lasting rapport between innovative and forward-looking Japanese producers and their Australian counterparts, was launched by the Australian Ambassador to Japan, the Honourable Bruce Miller on June 28, 2012.

Melanie Brock, MLA Regional Manager for Japan, commented, "This important initiative grew from the need MLA saw in helping farmers whose livelihoods were left devastated by the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster get back on their feet, by working together, Producer to Producer, to share information at a grassroots level. However as we have developed the program, we have been delighted in the interest shown in learning more about the Australian industry from across Japan. This inaugural visit includes participants from not only Fukushima Prefecture, but also from Mie and Niigata Prefectures, both unaffected by the tragic events last year."

"At a time when Japan and Australia are looking at deepening our trade relationships, it is important to show how innovative farmers and industry officials from both our countries can grow beef consumption together not in competition, but through collaboration. To this end, we will continue the MLA P2P initiative through post-visit seminars and networking events, in conjunction with the Australian Embassy in Japan, as well as organise reciprocal visits to Japan for Australian Producers," Brock continued.

Tour Participants:

Name/Title/Prefecture
1. Mr. Shunsaku Kokubun, Producer (wagyu), Fukushima
2. Mr. Isao Inukai, Producer (kuroge wagyu), Fukushima
3. Mr. Hikaru Ito, Producer (kuroge wagyu), Fukushima
4. Mr. Kyohei Hoshi, Producer (wagyu), Fukushima
5. Mr. Toshihiko Senzaki, Producer (wagyu), Fukushima
6. Mr. Nobuhiro Hasegawa, Producer (wagyu), Fukushima
7. Mr. Yoshiki Okuda, Producer (kuroge wagyu), Mie
8. Mr. Hidetaka Funo, Director Tottori Station, National Livestock Breeding Center (NLBC), Tottori
9. Mr. Taira Uruma, Murakami Beef Producers Association (part of JA), Niigata
10. Mr. Shinichi Muzusawa, JA Kurokawa, Niigata

About JA Group

JA (Japan Agricultural Co-operatives) operations exist in every prefecture and municipality throughout Japan with the purpose of protecting farming and living standards of its individual members. JAs are engaged in various activities including farm guidance, marketing of farm products, supply of production inputs, credit and mutual insurance businesses. Most farmers in Japan are members of their respective JA. For further information, see: www.zenchu-ja.or.jp/eng/ja_a_multipurpose/index.html .

About the Japan National Livestock Breeding Center (NLBC)

The NLBC is aimed at improving and breeding dairy cattle, beef cattle and swine to meet an increased food demand. The NLBC Head Office works closely with its 11 stations throughout Japan to improve animal breeds, produce and supply seeds for forage crops, develop and introduce new technologies, and manage information for the cattle individual identification system. For further information, see: www.nlbc.go.jp/english/index.html .

About MLA

Meat & Livestock Australia Limited (MLA) delivers marketing and research and development services for Australia's cattle, sheep and goat producers. MLA creates opportunities for livestock supply chains from their combined investments to build demand and productivity. In May 2011, MLA launched the "Together With Japan" relief initiative on behalf of the Australian red meat industry to support livestock farmers who were affected by the the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster.

Contact:

Melanie Brock
Regional Manager Japan
Meat & Livestock Australia
TEL +61 403 541109

Tokyo Office
TEL +81-3-4589-0071
Fax +81-3-4589-0086
Email: mbrock@mla.com.au

Source: Meat & Livestock Australia Limited

Copyright 2012 ACN Newswire. All rights reserved.

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