Beef and Lamb to work with MIE

Beef and Lamb New Zealand says it will work with Meat Industry Excellence as it develops a more detailed project plan - and one that the industry-good organisation can fund.

Last month, farmers supported a remit from MIE seeking funding from Beef and Lamb to continue the group's quest for industry reform.

At a board meeting in Christchurch this week, directors recognised that support and had taken on board the majority view of farmers who voted, Beef and Lamb chairman James Parsons said.

It was important now for MIE to draft a funding application and business plan that levy funds could support, Mr Parsons said.

MIE had earlier said it needed about $200,000 for travel, meetings and other activities associated with driving the reform process.

Beef and Lamb directors also supported a request from the Wool Levy Review Group to use remaining Meat and Wool New Zealand wool levies to prepare a referendum proposal for a wool levy.

The independent group was formed after a remit to Beef and Lamb's 2011 annual meeting directed an investigation into the effects of the discontinued levy.

The remit also sought to understand if there was support for returning to a collective grower investment and recommended a value proposition be brought to the 2014 Beef and Lamb annual meeting.

''Beef and Lamb New Zealand has provided support along the way as views were canvassed and this work culminated in the business case that farmers voted to support in March.

''The business case is for a wool levy to be raised and to focus on increasing a demand for wool and wool products, information, policy and advocacy, research, development and extension,'' Mr Parsons said.

Given the funding support of Beef and Lamb's board, the group would be able to take the proposal to a referendum for wool growers, to be held before the end of the year.

It would not be a Beef and Lamb referendum, but would be conducted by the independent wool group, he said.

Mr Parsons noted that the two remit actions were at very different stages of development. The wool levy action was ''well down the track'' and it was quite clear what farmers were asking Beef and Lamb to fund.

''By comparison, MIE's remit was very high level and Beef and Lamb will now work with MIE as they develop a more detailed project plan, and importantly one that Beef and Lamb can fund,'' he said.

It must be understood and agreed on how levies would be invested, he said.

Last month, MIE said an urgent industry summit needed to be convened to address what it described as a crisis confronting the red meat sector and the country.

In the group's latest newsletter, it said it was working on an agenda for a meeting, tentatively set for early July, which would be very goal-focused on two of the key areas identified in the red meat sector strategy document - livestock procurement and in-market behaviour.



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