The environment is set to become a focus for sheep and beef
farmers, so farmers need to learn from the best performers.
Beef and Lamb New Zealand has announced it will commit
resources to assist sheep and beef farmers to meet their
environmental obligations, as it looks to a levy payer poll
in August 2015.
Speaking at Beef and Lamb NZ's annual science seminar at
Lincoln University earlier this month, chief executive Scott
Champion acknowledged the levy payer-funded body had been
slow to react to the onset of climate change.
''We could be accused of being late to the party, but we are
there and hopefully we are well dressed.''
Mr Champion and new board chairman James Parsons were the
Beef and Lamb NZ representatives on the newly formed Red Meat
Profit Partnership (RMPP) board and they acknowledged the
apparent lack of feedback to farmers to date.
''To communicate with farmers you've got to have something to
''The time has been taken up getting the board set up,'' Mr
Champion said. ''We are just on the edge of having things to
start talking about.''
Mr Parsons said the RMPP was keen to identify the
best-performing operators for other farmers to benchmark
''Where are the All Blacks in the meat industry? We need to
identify them, so we are not just looking at the provincial
players but we are looking at world-class players.
''We need about 30 of those guys and then to do some real
analysis of them - what are they doing? Why are they
world-class? We need to really get under the hood and look at
the way they think.''
Mr Champion said Beef and Lamb NZ was joining forces with
Federated Farmers to give farmers a stronger voice in the
regions on environmental issues.
''We are looking at developing policies which are right for
''We don't have the resources to have people on the ground in
every region so sharing our resources with Feds we think is
the best approach.''
Beef and Lamb NZ has committed $500,000 to environmental
initiatives for the first time, has employed an environment
extension manager and has developed a land and environment
planning (LEP) toolkit, which was available on Beef and Lamb
LEP workshops were being planned around the country, with
four workshops being held in North Canterbury this month.
Northern South Island director Andy Fox said Beef and Lamb NZ
would look to commit more funding to environmental
initiatives and possibly appoint a second environmental
extension manager, should it be successful in next year's
''There is a lot of noise around this and as sheep and beef
farmers we have thought we could go under the radar because
of another land user. But the new regulations have changed
this and we need to step up,'' Mr Fox said.
- by David Hill