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Media Release

B+LNZ’s Economic Service celebrates 70th anniversary

This month marks the 70th anniversary of Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Economic Service, which was initially set up in 1950 to help a struggling post-war sheep sector.
Tuesday, 7 July 2020

The Service was established as a joint venture between the Meat Board and Wool Board after a 1947 Royal Commission study recommended establishing a Sheep Industry Board to collect and document factual information about farm production and economics.

This continues to be done today, as it was back in 1950, through the Economic Service’s Sheep and Beef Farm Survey.

As well as giving insight into the state and financial health of New Zealand’s agricultural industry, the information gathered through the Survey is used to inform local, regional and central government policy, underpin forecasts and trends in meat and wool production. It also enables farmers to benchmark their own businesses against others in their cohort.

B+LNZ Chief Economist Andrew Burtt says the Survey has grown in complexity over the years, reflecting the increasingly complex nature of sheep and beef farming businesses.

“We really want to acknowledge the generous support of over 3,000 past and present Survey farmers who have volunteered their time and information knowing that confidences will be respected. Some farms have been in the Survey for over 50 years,” says Mr Burtt.

“The individualised way the data is collected means that when it is used to inform policy, forecasts and trends it is actual data and not based on “model” or “average” farms. This is a real strength because it shows the complexity and diversity of New Zealand’s sheep and beef farm businesses.”

B+LNZ’s Chief Insights Officer Jeremy Baker, describes the Economic Service as a key contributor to the on-going development and implementation of industry strategy.

Data gathered over 70 years is a rich data base of physical and financial trends at both industry and farm level, which helps the industry develop future scenarios at both a systems and farm level.

“It’s fantastic to know where we’ve come from; it grounds strategy and thinking for tomorrow.”

Mr Baker says celebrations of the milestone will be held over the coming weeks and months.

ENDS

For more information contact B+LNZ’s Sandra Taylor on 021 151 8685