New Zealand's red-meat sector is at a ''critical junction''
and farmers have given the message they want action to turn
around the precarious situation, Beef and Lamb New Zealand
chairman Mike Petersen says.
Speaking at the organisation's annual meeting, held at the
Upper Clutha A&P Show in Wanaka yesterday, Mr Petersen
said volatile returns were a real threat to the industry's
future and farmers were questioning whether the industry had
The mood and lack of confidence was worse today than five
years ago after three years of low lamb pricing.
The consistent view was that although those in the business
of food production were in the ''box seat'' for future
prospects, that was cold comfort for those facing drought and
the collapse in meat pricing, he said.
More stability and higher returns were needed if the sector
was going to retain and attract ''the best and brightest''.
While it was not the role of Beef and Lamb to talk about the
role of meat companies, the request from farmers had been
clear. They wanted to hear of gains made by meat companies in
the procurement and market areas. A vote was held yesterday
for the farmer contribution for the Collaboration for
Sustainable Growth programme, with the result to be announced
The development of that programme, which has up to $32.4
million from the Ministry for Primary Industries' Primary
Growth Partnership Fund, was a crucial component to get wider
adoption of best practice on farms, he said.
While some farmers took it as an insult that they were not
making production gains, that was not the case - they were
making gains. It was about giving farmers a helping hand to
lift performance and about becoming more efficient on-farm,
Mr Petersen said.
Woodville farmer Nick Perry said he would be voting against
it. It would cause more lamb to be thrown at a processing
system ''that has nothing but roller coasters in front of
Banks Peninsula farmer Mark Shadbolt believed it was a great
opportunity, with money leveraged from other organisations,
and described it as a ''step into the future''.