Meat industry reform push ongoing

Meat Industry Excellence is continuing its push for red meat industry reform, having secured a farmer mandate for change.

Since the end of farmer meetings in the North Island, the focus has been on structure, a funding strategy and identifying what has been described as the meat industry's ''tight five''.

Meetings were being held in Wellington next week to finalise the group's structure and also hopefully short-list that tight five, chairman Richard Young said yesterday.

It was important that people with the very best management and governance skills were on board to help drive industry change, and the group was identifying some skill sets that it believed were needed, Mr Young said.

There would also be a lot of discussion concerning funding streams. The group was hoping to get $500,000 from farmers and while that sounded a lot, it equated to $250 from 2000 farmers, he said.

At a meeting in Feilding in April, Alliance Group chairman Owen Poole said the industry was working to develop an improved model and a decision could be expected within two months on whether it would go ahead.

MIE would be keeping the pressure on and it would be pushing to be involved in those discussions.

''We're starting to want some feedback on how they are progressing,'' Mr Young said.

The group also realised it had to get its communication with farmers ''a wee bit up to speed'', he said.

Regardless of whether the four big meat companies were successful in bringing together a short-term solution, commitment to change was needed before the new season got under way, he said.

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