More funding sought for further meat industry reform

Meat Industry Excellence is seeking funding from Beef and Lamb New Zealand, saying it needs about $200,000 to continue to make progress with meat industry reform.

Chairman John McCarthy has called on Beef and Lamb to get behind a remit, before the organisation's annual meeting in Feilding on March 14, seeking further financial support.

The remit must have the signatures of at least 1000 registered farmers, or 5% of the total number of registered farmers, whichever is the lesser, for it to be binding.

MIE, which was established last year, had ''runs on the board'' with increased farmer participation in the co-operative board elections and representations on Alliance Group and Silver Fern Farms. Its focus was now on addressing procurement and marketing issues in the sector, Mr McCarthy said.

The funding was needed to meet expenses for travel, meetings and other activities associated with driving the reform process.

MIE needed to keep farmers informed and there was also a need to widen the debate so politicians and the business sector could become involved.

That would take time and resources, both of which were scarce for MIE members who had their own farming businesses to run, he said.

Until now, the burden had fallen on a small core group of MIE members with support from others who had an interest in the sector.

Last year, Beef and Lamb reimbursed $40,000 expenses for MIE and said further funding support would depend on farmers' feedback, he said.

Farmers were also being asked to vote on a proposal by independent industry group, the Wool Levy Review Group, to investigate the value proposition for a future wool levy, along with another proposal to continue to invest in genetics research and innovation via Beef and Lamb.

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