Angus and Lesley Tink of Tarawong, Mebul, have won the inaugural progress award by Meat Standards Australia (MSA) in Tamworth.
The NSW award is for showing the greatest improvement in their MSA results since 2014-15.
Jac Wagyu of Bingara was named the state’s most outstanding beef producer.
Rangers Valley of Glen Innes received the title of the most outstanding grainfed beef producer.
About 110 producers and processors heard about the latest and greatest in the MSA world, at the forum which was held before the awards.
At the last in a series of MSA Eating Quality forums across Australia, the Tamworth crowd heard from MSA and Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) representatives, a UNE meat scientist and even Newcastle Knights ex-skipper, guest speaker Danny Buderus.
MSA program manager Sarah Strachan said the event had “great questions, a lot of engagement from the producers; great success all around”.
The audience heard about MSA benchmarking and how to use it; the role of animal genetics; the impacts of seasonable variability; and the value of ‘big data’.
The attendees’ questions included some about the marketing of the MSA logo, benchmarking and a pathway for saleyards to meet MSA requirements.
“There was a question around why we aren't seeing the MSA logo, given there’s so much product being graded,” Mrs Strachan said.
“Our marketing efforts over the years show it’s not an effective use of producers’ levy dollars for those campaigns [and it’s better to] invest the same effort to working with brand owners, who can get closer to consumers with their brand stories and MSA education..
“I had some questions asked about some of the research we were doing in the saleyards, and our answer is we’re looking at reviewing the saleyard pathway to see if we can make it a workable pathway for cattle going direct to slaughter.”
MSA operations manager Hayley Robinson spoke about compliance to MSA requirements and some of the benchmarking tools now available.
“People in the New England region can actually benchmark themselves against other producers in the New England region,” Mrs Strachan said.
“People know their cattle get graded, but some of them haven’t gone onto MyMSA, our feedback system, yet.”
Mrs Strachan said the eating quality forums would probably be held every two or three years after this second round.
“Last time we were able to share where the MSA program is looking to go, and we’re now halfway through that, so it’s a good midpoint check to show people how we’re progressing.”