“We need to do much more collectively as a sector about the perception of this sector,” said B+LNZ chairman Mike Petersen, who was recently appointed as New Zealand’s Special Agricultural Envoy.
When you look at some of the innovations used in the industry and some of the challenges faced, it is an incredibly successful sector, he told delegates, but recent terms used to describe it include ‘patient on life-support’, he said.
“In my view, this is an over-dramatisation. This sector has challenges, and we certainly can do better, but it is certainly not on life-support.”
To see investment in the sector and its people, “We will need to lift the game and talk with pride about what the sector has achieved and also more constructively about the challenges we face,” said Petersen. “We need to change the language about the sector and put it out in a much more positive way. “
He pointed to the unique opportunity offered by the Red Meat Sector Conference for people from behind the farm-gate to have conversations with people on the other side of the gate.
This is not to set sides, he said. “But, these are the sort of conversations that frankly do not happen enough in this sector and this is the opportunity to understand each other better.”
Many took up his advice engaging in in-depth conversations and quality networking, with leaders from all parts of the industry around the event.