CEO Note: July 2018

It’s been a busy month. From the joint decision between industry and the government to attempt phased eradication of Mycoplasma bovis, to the launch of consultation on our levy proposal, the start of government consultation on the Zero Carbon legislation, and increased media coverage of alternative proteins.
Thursday, 5 July 2018

Today we’re releasing a report that assesses the amount of native vegetation on our sheep and beef farms. This study is just one of the steps outlined in our environment strategy to support the work we’re doing with farmers and industry partners to highlight and enhance sheep and beef farmers’ contribution to New Zealand’s biodiversity and climate change.

I also know that for many farmers this continues to be a difficult time due to Mycoplasma bovis in the next couple of weeks you should receive a booklet that provides the latest advice and information we have about M. bovis. This resource has been developed jointly between B+LNZ and MPI and we’ll continue to review and update our website too as part of our commitment to supporting farmers during the attempt at phased eradication. 

The announcement of our levy proposal and the ongoing consultation has provided me an opportunity to get around New Zealand and talk with many of you face to face about what B+LNZ’s priorities are and how we’re wanting to accelerate them. The feedback we’re getting through this consultation process is giving us valuable insights into what’s important to you, and we’re taking it all on-board.

B+LNZ thought long and hard about proceeding with the consultation due to Mycoplasma bovis, but made the decision to carry on as there is a short window to get ahead of the curve on marketing to combat alternative proteins, and get ahead of environmental regulation.  If the consultation was delayed the levy could not be increased until October 2019.

Consultation on our levy proposal runs until 13 July.  This is a really important decision and we want to hear from as many farmers as possible.  You can fill out and return the freepost submission form that you received in the mail or visit www.beeflambnz.com/levy2018 to share your views online. 

With the government launching consultation on their Zero Carbon Bill, B+LNZ is developing a submission on behalf of the industry and we have provided some advice to farmers about our preliminary thinking. We’re encouraged by the government’s willingness to look at a split gas approach to greenhouse gas emissions.

The topic of alternative proteins continues to bubble away and has received a bit of media coverage in the past few weeks, particularly following Air New Zealand’s decision to offer the impossible burger on its flights from LA to Auckland. Working with our partners at Beef + Lamb New Zealand Inc who fronted several media interviews, we responded with posts on social media, as well as raising the issue with relevant stakeholders. I’m also writing to Air NZ’s CEO to invite him to meet us and identify opportunities where we can work together to promote New Zealand’s world leading, naturally raised red meat to their travellers.

Air NZ’s decision reinforces the challenges our sector faces and the importance of the levy proposal, which is focused on telling our story better both from a marketing and environmental perspective.  There are a huge amount of misconceptions out there about agricultural production.

With the world population expected to grow by a billion by 2030 we see space for both alternative proteins and natural red meat, but these new companies have very deep marketing pockets.  We have to work as a sector to tell our story about our unique natural production systems, backed by up a strong environmental strategy.  

As always, I appreciate the direct feedback I get from you so keep it coming, especially on the on the levy proposal before consultation closes on the 13th.