Committed supply is one simple aspect by which farmers can
help the red-meat industry, Federated Farmers Otago meat and
fibre chairman Simon McAtamney says.
In his report to the province's annual meeting, Mr McAtamney
said the rural lobby organisation would keep pushing the
message about committed supply.
Reflecting on the past year, Mr McAtamney said it had been a
much better one for Otago's meat and fibre farmers than the
It appeared the season would also be a more profitable one
for the major meat companies. Less volatile markets and
improving returns for products should see some healthier
financial results later in the year, he said.
Meat Industry Excellence had ''certainly ruffled some
feathers'' over the past year.
While the group saw that the pathway to restructuring the
industry lay through the co-operatives, it also had to keep
focus on engaging with non-co-operative suppliers who stocked
the other 50% of the industry.
Otherwise, the co-operatives might end up being restructured,
but not the industry.
Mr McAtamney believed many of the problems that had arisen
for the southern meat companies stemmed from one factor
''totally out of their control'' over the past 20 years: the
rapid growth in wealth in Asia had resulted in a ''seemingly
insatiable'' demand for dairy protein.
The South Island had all the resources needed to supply that
demand and that had taken a huge amount of supply, especially
sheep, away from the meat companies, he said.
''What really could they have done about that? What if this
hadn't happened? Would we actually be getting as well paid
for lamb as we are now?
''The meat companies would all be better off with better
throughput, but would we?
''We are now starting to see huge demand for red-meat protein
from China. Are we possibly going to get on a similar roll as
the dairy industry, albeit later?'' he asked.
The future of Invermay had been a contentious issue, and
AgResearch's plan to create two main research hubs had caused
a ''lot of dismay''.
If that was not to happen, Mr McAtamney asked if the
continuation of Invermay in its present form would be a good
''Constant restructuring over the past two decades has
already seen Invermay's role diminished.
''If Invermay is to survive and thrive, it probably needs its
science capability better supported and enlarged, otherwise
more good scientists will continue to leave albeit more
slowly than what might happen with a sudden shift to
Christchurch,'' he said.
A likely referendum for a compulsory wool levy for a new
wool-grower body would no doubt cause debate throughout the
rest of the year, he said.