Fostering international relationships
A lot of the Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) work you see is focused on increasing farm returns behind the farm gate. But we’re also involved in activities at the other end of the market, with our international consumers.
Given that more than 90% of our red meat is exported, it makes sense to foster relationships with our international partners.
Last month, B+LNZ hosted the International Beef Alliance (IBA) in Taupo. The alliance is made up of the national organisations representing beef cattle producers in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Paraguay and the United States. Together, these countries account for 46 per cent of global beef cattle production and 63 per cent of global beef exports.
The International Beef Alliance’s overall principle is to exceed global beef consumers’ expectations, while eliminating non-scientific and political trade barriers.
This year, the conference was chaired by James Parsons, the B+LNZ chairman. There was a focus on creating relationships that benefit both parties (when it comes to non-tariff barriers), and seeing the Trans Pacific Partnership signed off before a new US president is elected. Alongside supporting trade liberalisation via all mechanisms, the alliance also advocates for continual improvement in animal health care, reducing beef’s environmental footprint and ensuring social and economic sustainability.
Showcasing New Zealand farms
As a part of the conference, delegates visited several New Zealand farms. Showcasing our farming operations to other countries makes you appreciate how great our farmers are. Delegates were blown away with the production and profitability, as well as the level of detail that our farmers work to. They also commented on our farms’ diversity – with sheep and deer often incorporated – and our Maori farms’ operating values. We really do have an iconic agricultural industry in New Zealand.
On that note, it’s great to hear that more dairy farmers are using beef genetics over their herds this season – so, we should soon see greater volumes of beef meeting export requirements. Let’s hope market prices stay healthy, as they have over the last year.
Andrew Jolly is Beef + Lamb New Zealand's Mid Northern North Island Extension Manager.