Programme to lift lamb prices starts

Federated Farmers is today launching a programme to lift average returns for prime lambs to $150 a head within five years.

Called T150, it has been preceded by a texting campaign among farmers, but today the federation formally launches the campaign in Hastings.

If successful, it will almost treble the $55 average price paid to farmers for lamb for the past three years.

"The federation believes that the targeted return should be at least $150 to restore viability to the sector," the organisation's meat and fibre chairman, Bruce Wills, said.

Farmers had been showing their concern at inadequate returns by leaving the industry, and sheep numbers had fallen from 40 million three years ago to 34 million this year, the lowest number in 50 years.

The sector had been discussing meat-industry ownership and structure, but Mr Wills said there was no clear focus for the industry for the next five years.

"We know that $150 will not be an easy target to meet. Federated Farmers believes heads need to be lifted on a target that is tangible, inspirational but above all, achievable."

That extra value would come from efficiencies and rationalisation within the supply chain, but Mr Wills said farmers had a part to play.

"We need to commit to supply contracts with our meat processors and spread our selling season."

He hoped the programme would encompass everyone in the sector.



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