3 Nov 2011

Shearing unity group calls for support of farmers

12:46 pm on 3 November 2011

The group behind a bid to unite the shearing industry is calling on the support of farmers, saying their input is minimal, but necessary.

The ShearNZ programme is using financial backing from Beef + Lamb New Zealand to develop a quality assurance programme that shearing operators will be accredited to.

Chairman Peter Taylor told Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre Council in Wellington that the programme will improve the standards of wool preparation, which have declined due to years of poor returns.

He said a dramatic recovery in wool prices in the past year has put a new focus on wool quality and preparation standards.

Mr Taylor says the aim of the programme is to unite the shearing industry by establishing standards in employment contracts, animal welfare, woolshed safety, training, and addressing a drug dependency problem in the industry.

ShearNZ will hold regional meetings with farmers this month.

Shearing Contractors Association chairman Barry Pullin says it wants to have about half the country's sheep flock shorn by operators accredited to the quality assurance programme in three years.