The red meat industry has agreed to work together to promote and assist in the adoption of best practice by sheep and beef farmers, as part of a new $65 million dollar sector development project with Government co-funding.
Wayne McNee, director-general of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), has just approved a commitment of up to $32.4 million from MPI’s Primary Growth Partnership Fund (PGP) for the red meat sector’s new Collaboration for Sustainable Growth programme.
This seven-year programme will bring together a number of participants in New Zealand’s red meat sector including co-operatively owned and privately owned processing companies that together account for a substantial majority of New Zealand’s sheep and beef exports, two banks and Beef + Lamb New Zealand Ltd.
It aims to ensure that red meat producers consistently have access to and are able to effectively use the best-available farm and business management practices, by addressing gaps in technology transfer and ensuring stronger co-ordination between organisations and individuals working with farmers.
MPI Director General, Wayne McNee says the new PGP programme will transform the delivery of knowledge and capability within the sheep and beef sector.
“Importantly this is the most comprehensive collaboration of its type ever seen in the red meat sector, and the opportunities are very exciting. The Collaboration programme will build base capability, delivering benefits across the sector and aligned with other PGP programmes.”
The next step to establish this PGP programme is to develop the contract with the Crown and to seek farmer support for their portion of the investment. It is anticipated that once the required farmer and company approvals and contracts are in place programme delivery can begin, expected to be in the third quarter of this year.
Organisations presently in this initiative are: AFFCO, Alliance Group, ANZCO Foods, ANZ Bank, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Blue Sky Meats, Deloitte, Progressive Meats, Rabobank and Silver Fern Farms. The programme is designed to be open, enabling others to invest. Participants will establish a formal partnership to run the Collaboration programme.
Chairman of the programme’s Steering Group, Dr Scott Champion says the Collaboration programme is built on the findings of the Red Meat Sector Strategy and will deliver significantly on the Strategy’s sector best-practice theme.
“This initiative is evidence that the industry is committed to delivering on the recommendations of the sector strategy. More industry collaboration is high on the list of Strategy actions, and so to have the red meat industry focused on supporting farmers and united in this programme is of major significance. Importantly, the Strategy also underlined the returns available to all farmers by lifting productivity and management towards that of the country’s highest performing farms.”
The PGP programme comprises several elements, including investigating how farmers prefer to receive and use new information and what drives their profitability, as well as benchmarking and integrating relevant databases. New tools, services and knowledge will be packaged and delivered in a range of ways by programme partners.
“With a new awareness of what drives farm profitability, the Collaboration programme will change the sector’s focus from one that is dominated by price to one focused on performance, productivity, profitability and the factors we can control,” Champion said.
“This investment will support the sector to better control its future and ensure confidence for continued investment.”
The Red Meat Sector Strategy was jointly developed by Beef + Lamb New Zealand and the Meat Industry Association, with funding support from the Government. It was released in May 2011.The Strategy identified a range of activities that, when implemented, will improve sector productivity and profitability, and provide greater certainty for participants.