Better communication and understanding within the red
meat industry is needed to see better returns, outgoing
Federated Farmers meat and fibre chairwoman Jeanette Maxwell
In her speech to the Federated Farmers national conference
this week, Mrs Maxwell said it was a valuable industry, worth
$6 billion to New Zealand's economy, but some of that value
was not being felt behind the farm gates.
After consultation over the organisation's Meat Industry
Options Paper, it had a clear indication from members about
where the industry could improve and what was integral to the
success of their farming businesses.
''While our central message has been a need for greater
co-operation, the consultation period has identified a gap in
understanding and communication between the stakeholders,''
An example was the relationship between the farmer and their
''If you have been supplying the same company for the past 20
years and are going to continue to do so, you might consider
yourself committed, but the company doesn't necessarily know
your history or your future intentions.
''So unless they are communicated, no-one is going to benefit
or be able to add value from it.
''Likewise with the processor to the farmer; if the farmer
doesn't understand the processor's intentions or commitment,
then you are unlikely to understand the value in committing
to their business, and may choose to follow the spot
Survey responses revealed 80% of respondents considered their
meat company's strategy important, yet 43% could not describe
''To get central shifts in behaviour and maximise sustainable
profitability, we need to better understand and align
strategy values between suppliers and the company they
There appeared to be a genuine desire to come together, with
84% saying they were committed to a company at least
seasonally, but the communication breakdown was preventing
that commitment being leveraged from.
There were considerable opportunities for farmers to work
with their stock agent or drafter to bridge the gap and keep
communication open, she said.
Sheep and beef farmer confidence has risen to a three-year
high, the latest Rabobank rural confidence survey showed.
While overall confidence dropped significantly, led by a
slide in dairy farmer confidence, sheep and beef farmer
sentiment recorded a healthy surge, with 57% of farmers
reporting a positive outlook, up from 37% in the previous
Just 7% expected conditions to worsen in the next 12 months,
down from 10% previously.
Rabobank New Zealand chief executive Ben Russell said the
results reflected the strengthening in sheep and beef prices,
on the back of lower supply from high slaughter levels in the
past 12 to 18 months.
Rick Powdrell, of Bay of Plenty, has been elected chairman of
Federated Farmers meat and fibre executive.