Farmers at Beef and Lamb New Zealand's annual meeting
made an almost unanimous call for AgResearch to carry out more
consultation over its plan to slash Invermay jobs.
Southland farmer Leon Black, who was at the meeting in
Feilding on Friday and until last week was a director of Beef
and Lamb, said the call for more consultation showed beef and
sheep farmers across the country were concerned about
Mr Black said the remit tabled from the floor - ''That
AgResearch is requested to extend its level of consultation
for the move from Invermay of sheep and deer genetics
research and consult with commercial ram breeders in the
North and South Island'' - was passed almost unanimously.
Only two or three of the about 120 mostly North Island
farmers at the meeting voted against it, he said.
This showed the depth of concern about the issue, that
farmers believed consultation had been inadequate and it was
more than just Otago and Southland farmers concerned over
''It's not a local issue. It's a concern about the research
capability for the national good.''
AgResearch needed to rethink its plan and ''get into a bit
more serious dialogue with the people that use their
An AgResearch spokesman, asked if the farmers' views were a
concern and if consultation would increase, would only say
the organisation recognised the importance of consultation.
''We acknowledge that concerns have been raised, and we want
to make sure farmers understand the benefits that Future
Footprint will deliver for regions and New Zealand farming
''This is why we want to ... keep talking with them.''
Mr Black said the new Beef and Lamb board would continue to
monitor the situation, when it came to numbers of staff
wanting to shift from Invermay to Lincoln.
''AgResearch are our key science provider and we rely on
those key scientists and if they don't have those scientists,
then the things we fund come into question.''
If it became obvious a high proportion of staff were not
moving, the organisation's stance on the plan could also
AgResearch was asked yesterday if there were concerns at the
number of staff intending to leave the organisation, and if
the Future Footprint plans would proceed regardless of the
numbers prepared to shift.
The spokesman would only say retaining staff was ''our key
''We are working with all of our people whose roles are
relocating in three years' time to ensure they are well
informed, have the support they need, and will be able to
make the best possible decision for themselves and their