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Meat New Zealand responds to farmer's submissions

Meat New Zealand and SheepCo will release their respective proposals tomorrow ahead of voting in August says Meat New Zealand chairman Jeff Grant. All sheep, beef and goat farmers who sent in submissions will receive a letter summarising what the submissions said, and showing the results of surveys that were conducted at consultation workshops, he said. "Meat New Zealand received about 90 submissions and we thank all those farmers that took the time to respond."

"It's important for farmers to know that we are still seeking feedback, which will be collated from meetings from now until August. We called for submissions from farmers, and their responses have allowed us to make adjustments to the proposal that will be mailed to them tomorrow. Further changes to the proposal that will be voted on can be made right up until the week before voting," he said.

"SheepCo chairman Mike Petersen and myself will be holding about 40 farmer meetings between now and the beginning of the voting. I encourage farmers to come along and voice their support for or opposition to any aspects of the proposal, or just to talk over those that they are unsure of."

The submissions illustrate strong support for a single organisation to collect red meat and wool levies should both votes be successful, Grant said. "There does appear to be support from farmers for a single organisation, as well as for a continuation of core areas of activity and with regard to meat- maintenance of the current levy range."

Sixty-five submissions were received in favour of a single organisation and 10 against. This support is also reflected in the farmer workshop survey results, with 94 percent supporting the single organisation proposal, Grant said.

Meat New Zealand's trade access work was also supported in the submissions, with 52 supporting the investment in this area compared to 18 against. The farmer workshop surveys also showed 93 percent of respondents believe this area of work is important.

Research and development and information transfer is also viewed as a core function; 62 out of 74 respondents support investment in this area, while 97 percent of those surveyed at farmer workshops support R and D investment.

Grant said the majority of submitters regard market development as a core function. Forty-three support continued investment in this area while 25 oppose it, however farmer workshop surveys show 83 percent support for market development investment.

If farmers are unsure whether they are on either the Meat New Zealand or SheepCo electoral roll, or if they have not yet received any correspondence regarding voting or the proposals, they should call the Farmers Choice hotline 0800 109 150.

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