Finding a way forward

Mohair goat breeder and fibre classer Irene Campbell, of ...
Mohair goat breeder and fibre classer Irene Campbell, of Dumbarton, along with her husband, Bill, will host a field day for visitors attending the New Zealand Goats conference in Queenstown next month. Photo by Yvonne O'Hara

The possible reintroduction of an industry levy and ''the way forward'' to profitability and sustainability for the goat industry will be the focus of the inaugural New Zealand Goats (NZGoats) conference in Queenstown next month.

Mohair New Zealand Inc, Meat Goat New Zealand (MGNZ), the New Zealand Boer Goat Breeders Association and NZGoats will all be holding their annual meetings during the same weekend, May 23 to 25.

NZ Goats chairwoman Dawn Sangster, of Patearoa, said those interested in feral or dairy goats, or in the industry in general, were also invited.

It will be the first time a combined industry conference has been held.

Mrs Sangster said as the industry was small, the joint conference was an opportunity to combine resources and attract better speakers.

''I am quite excited about it,'' Mrs Sangster said. ''It will be a chance to learn about each other.''

She hoped the conference would attract at least 60 people and be an ideal opportunity for them to network.

''People can brainstorm and take ideas away.''

Federated Farmers Meat and Fibre chairwoman Jeanette Maxwell will speak about the requirements for, and merits of, an application to introduce a levy under the Commodity Levies Act to help raise funds for the group.

A wool and goat levy was discontinued in 2010 following an industry referendum.

''People will be able to hear about the levy and understand what the process is,'' Mrs Sangster said.

''They are not necessarily going to do it but it is one possible option.''

Accumulated funds of $115,000 were distributed to five research and administration projects as a result of the previous levy, including Wormwise for Goats, developing a set of guidelines for feral goat stockmanship, effective drench dose rates for goats and developing a saliva test for parasites.

Project reports will be given during the conference.

Other conference speakers include AgResearch scientist Richard Shaw, who will talk about his work on reducing parasite costs, consultant Helen Darling, who will discuss supply chain issues, and Beef and Lamb New Zealand's Fiona Carruthers, who will talk about the value of goat meat.

Field trips have been arranged to Bill and Irene Campbell's mohair goat property near Roxburgh and Dave Aitken's Boer goat farm in Gibbston Valley.

The conference will include discussions about issues affecting the industry, which, although dealing with a niche market, is facing rising demand for goat products both domestically and internationally.

- by Yvonne O'Hara 

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