CEO Note: The first quarter 2019

With the first quarter of 2019 already done and dusted and the Easter break upon us, I wanted to use this opportunity to update you on the first three months for Beef + Lamb New Zealand.
Wednesday, 17 April 2019

One of the highlights for us so far this year has been the pilot rollout of our Taste Pure Nature country of origin brand in California. With a digital advertising campaign already well underway and Taste Pure Nature appearing in New York’s Times Square, the reception to the launch has been fantastic. With export and marketing companies fully supportive of Taste Pure Nature, I’m looking forward to seeing how the campaign develops as it builds over the rest of the year.

We’ve also been busy rolling out new extension activities for our farmers too. A new winter grazing workshop that’s was developed after extensive consultation with farmers, industry partners, non-government organisations, and central and local government, was piloted earlier this year and is in the process of being rolled out more widely. We’ve also had new workshops on freshwater quality and carbon farming taking place, both which have proven to be very popular. 

We have also conducted a biosecurity pilot workshop in Northland and like winter grazing this will be ready at the end of April for delivery across the country. Along with these new initiatives we have continued to run Feedsmart workshops, Facial Eczema field days, and Farming for Profit days across the country. 

There are now over 74 Red Meat Profit Partnership Action Groups around the country, so make sure you get involved by visiting www.actionnetwork.co.nz. We’ve also released a bunch of critical Key Performance Indicators for high performing farms, a new animal health manual, and we’re being oversubscribed for the farm succession workshops.

While Brexit ended up being delayed, preparing for it has been a major focus for B+LNZ, the New Zealand Meat Board, and the Meat Industry Association. Had there been a no-deal Brexit on 29 March, we were well-prepared for potential quota and certification changes thanks to months of work undertaken by our people. Thankfully, the extension of Brexit announced on 11 April means that trade continues unaffected for the meantime, but we’ll continue to monitor the situation closely and update our contingency planning as required.

Dry weather around much of the country has been challenging for many farmers to deal with, including fire risk. While the dry has eased in some parts of the country, others remain very dry, particularly around Otago and Waikato, and there are a range of resources available on our website to help farmers manage their way through these periods.

With several major government policy announcements coming up this year relating to climate change, freshwater, and biodiversity, we have been meeting with Government Ministers, MPs, and officials, to advocate on your behalf. You’ve told us you want to play your part in meeting the environment challenges facing our country, and take responsibility for our part.  But it’s important that in doing so we take a science-based, practical and fair approach to ensure the best outcome for New Zealanders farmers and rural communities.

The Mycoplasma bovis response continues and we are working closely with the Ministry for Primary Industries and Dairy NZ to improve the processes supporting farmers whose farms are impacted by the disease, we recognise in some cases there is significant personal cost. We will soon be starting consultation with you on how to handle the biosecurity levy for beef cattle farmers’ share of the cost of the response, with formal consultation documents arriving in your mailboxes towards the end of this month. Please ensure that with moving day coming up that you’re absolutely on the button with NAIT. Incorrect or absent NAIT records are one of the biggest reasons why in some cases MPI is struggling to trace animals and therefore having to put more farmers under surveillance.

Last week we launched the B+LNZ Future Farm™ website which details the vision for the programme and the progress to date. If you haven’t had a look already go to https://www.futurefarm.co.nz/ and get up to speed.  As part of charting our future research and extension strategy, we’re planning to talk extensively to farmers through May and June to ensure we clearly understand your current and future on-farm needs to driving productivity and profitability.

I look forward to talking to you soon on this. Thanks for the opportunity to work on your behalf, as always feel free to give me a call or email on any issue.

Sam