Finding the solutions to implement change in the red meat
industry is still the major barrier in reaching the Meat
Industry Excellence (MIE) group's goals, chairman Richard
In his inaugural chairman's report, Mr Young said meat
company talks had offered no solution to date. However, those
talks were still continuing.
What it did offer, if successful, was a managed approach to
dealing with overcapacity.
Managed rationalisations would have less impact on all
stakeholders and offer better outcomes than unmanaged
However, it remained imperative that MIE, which was formed in
March this year, continued to push for reform.
''To rely on the companies achieving this would be optimistic
in the least,'' he said.
The group was ''very close to having a plan of attack'' and
it was hoped to have that out by the end of next month.
Mr Young urged farmers to unite behind their co-operatives
and support the concept of farmer ownership, saying such
support was ''essential'' to rebuilding a strong red meat
''The only way to remain in control of our own destiny is to
have ownership of our processing and marketing arms,'' he
While the present co-operative model was not perfect and
needed to be tweaked, if farmer ownership was lost,
alternative owners would not have the best interests of
farmers in mind.
Their focus would be solely on either company profitability
and return to shareholders which ultimately would not be
farmers, or on protein at the cheapest price, he said.
''If farmers are looking for direction moving into next
season, our advice is to support a co-operative.
"Ideally co-operatives need to control sufficient critical
mass to influence in procurement and market but we must start
with what we can and build from there,'' he said.
The ''end game'' must be a farmer-owned co-operative that
controlled the critical mass, embraced the principles of an
integrated supply chain and understood and maximised the
strengths of New Zealand's position in the global
Mr Young said MIE's approach of engaging with meat companies
in an attempt to find common ground was the correct approach.
An approach that was based on conflict initially would have
led to a ''short life'' for the group. It was essential MIE
remained a ''powerful force'' in pushing for industry reform.
Funding streams were needed to allow the payment of the
advisory panel and cost associated with the running of MIE,
along with implementation of new blood on to the executive
both to avoid burnout and bring in fresh ideas.
Strong discipline and clear messaging needed to be
maintained, along with continued engagement with political
and industry-good organisations. A clear picture of what the
''end goal'' was also was essential.
Mr Young, a West Otago farmer, has been re-elected chairman,
with John McCarthy (Ohakune) continuing as vice-chairman.
There are three new executive members: Blair Smith (North
Otago), Tim Coop (Banks Peninsula) and Bruce Worsnop (Hawkes
Alliance Group will hold its annual round of
shareholder-supplier meetings soon.
They will be held in Otautau and Gore on October 14,
Balclutha on October 15, Omakau on October 17 and Lee Stream
and Oamaru on October 21.