Sheep and beef farmers have given the seal of approval to
co-fund the $65 million Collaboration for Sustainable Growth
red-meat sector initiative, paving the way for the programme to
The resolution was passed with 77% support from 2746
participating votes, after a farmer vote held at Beef and
Lamb New Zealand's annual meeting in Wanaka last week.
Up to $32.4 million from the Ministry for Primary Industries'
Primary Growth Partnership Fund (PGP) had been approved for
the programme, while Beef and Lamb had to gain farmer
approval to invest up to $2.8 million a year over seven
At a New Zealand Meat Board meeting in Wellington this week,
Beef and Lamb was given approval to commit existing reserve
funds towards the programme.
Beef and Lamb chairman Mike Petersen described the outcome of
the vote as a strong endorsement for the programme which had
the ability ''to take the sheep and beef sector to the next
''It's particularly pleasing that farmers have supported this
unprecedented red meat sector collaboration with six meat
companies, two banks and a professional services firm, with
the potential to transform the sector,'' Mr Petersen said.
The next step was the development of the contract between the
Crown and the partner group and it was hoped that the
programme activities could be delivered in the second half of
the year, he said. Federated Farmers meat and fibre
chairwoman Jeanette Maxwell said the programme would provide
a ''huge'' amount of investment in ways farmers could
directly increase their productivity and returns through
their own efforts.
While the red-meat sector was having a tough season with
drought adding to the stress of lower prices, Mrs Maxwell was
confident the programme could mean farmers did not face such
dire seasons in future.
''This partnership will fund research into what improvements
on and off farm can be made to directly increase farmers'
productivity and lower our input costs. It will lead to
better communication and collaboration between all parts of
our industry, which will increase farm-gate returns,'' she
Rabobank's agribusiness monthly for February showed lamb
prices remained under considerable pressure.
South Island lamb prices in the first week of March averaged
$4.31/kg, 35c down on the corresponding week in February.
Total sheep meat exports surged during January, rising 37%
year-on-year to 35,218 tonnes. Encouragingly, the rise was
underpinned in most major markets, the report said.
Influencing the strong rise was a significant jump in
slaughter, driven by dry conditions.
For the October to January period, total lamb slaughter was
19% higher year-on-year at 7.288 million head, while mutton
slaughter had risen 31% over the same period, at 2.134