Challenge for rural butchers

Demand for New Zealand meat and meat products might be good for farmers - but it is posing challenges for rural butchers, Federated Farmers rural butchers chairman Mike Hanson says.

In a recent newsletter, Mr Hanson said sheep meat in particular was becoming more expensive and consequently less affordable for some people.

Farmers were increasingly reluctant to go down the home-kill route when the returns they could get from commercially slaughtered animals were so high.

"This situation demands that we as an industry, like many other sectors in today's economy, step up to meet this challenge and, as butchers, must constantly be looking to develop the range of services and skills that we provide to our customers," Mr Hanson said.

Federated Farmers Rural Butchers is an industry group that was started in 1988 to represent the interests of rural butchers.

Mr Hanson believed the group's conference, which will be held in Invercargill in early September, would be one way of helping members meet the challenge.

Organisers were looking to include a presentation on how members could develop an affordable web presence to reach more customers.

Lyndon Gold, from Outram Butchery, said staff had been "flat out", doing a lot of home kill and processing wild game. There had been a lot of growth in the business this year and staff had grown from three to six.

He had noticed a decline in the amount of sheep coming in, which he attributed to the prices being achieved, particularly for ewes.


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