Rural communities a focus for new Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chairman

As Southland farmer Andrew Morrison steps into the role of Chairman of Beef + Lamb New Zealand his focus will be on the strength of rural communities.
Wednesday, 28 March 2018

These communities reflect the health and prosperity of the farming sectors that surround them so for Andrew, red meat sector growth is helping rural communities thrive – and this is increasingly recognised as a success story within this country and around the world.

Andrew, who was formally elected by the Board on 23 March, will be leading B+LNZ as the levy-funded organisation implements a revised strategy.

Released last year, this strategy puts more emphasis on enhancing farmers environmental position, unlocking market potential and greater government and public insight engagement – while still supporting farming excellence.

“I am a huge supporter of the B+LNZ strategy and committed to delivering on it,” says Morrison.

“Alongside continuing our investment in Extension programmes and ongoing research and development to support farmers, our key priorities are the launch of the environment strategy and Red Meat Story

“The environment strategy and the Red Meat Story are critical to setting up the sector for a strong future.

“If we get these right, they will go a long way to achieving our ultimate goal of profitable farmers, thriving rural communities, valued by all New Zealanders.”

Andrew knows all about rural communities because he lives in one.

Along with his wife Lisa, Morrison farms a total of 1030ha of breeding and finishing units spread between Southland and Otago. He actively farms the couple’s 150ha home farm near Gore – although Lisa is in charge of the day-to-day management. The couple has two children Bryn (19) and Kelly (15).

“I love the sector we operate in and it has treated us very well. It is not always easy, but it is a truly great values-based sector to be part of.”

He says while the strong meat prices and recent trade gains are positive, B+LNZ needs to continue to work hard for its farmers.

One of the most important elements of the new strategy and recent structural changes is the focus on developing insights.

“B+LNZ is now constantly looking ahead, undertaking research and developing thinking to position the sector for future challenges and opportunities.

“The Alternative Proteins report is an example of the kind of substantive work we want to produce more consistently and there is further work in the pipeline - particularly around the environment.”

He says that while the red meat sector is in a strong position with an unprecedented global demand for protein, NZ needs to leverage its competitive advantage of producing natural grass-fed hormone and antibiotic-free sheep and beef.

Morrison takes up the reins after previous Chairman James Parsons stepped down at B+LNZ’s Annual Meeting on 22 March

Parsons was Chairman for four years and had been on the B+LNZ Board representing the Northern North Island region for nine years.

Morrison acknowledged the contribution Parsons had made to both B+LNZ and the wider red meat industry during his tenure.

“James provided leadership during some challenging times in the industry, especially in recent times with climatic events, biosecurity breaches and farming’s environment footprint being called into question.”

Morrison says in his new role, he is looking forward to meeting with key partners in government and in the agricultural sector.

“The red meat sector is stronger if we are able to work with others so effective collaboration is vital.”

Morrison also sits on the Boards of Ballance Agri-Nutrients, Ovis Management Ltd, the New Zealand Meat Board and the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium.