Southern leaders are about to emerge from a long-sought meeting with the AgResearch board about plans for major job relocations from the Invermay centre.
The crown research institute has made some small concessions to its controversial plan, but still wants to shift about three-quarters of its Dunedin staff north by 2016.
Fifty Otago and Southland community, business and farming leaders led by Dunedin's mayor Dave Cull have been campaigning to stop the job relocations for the past two months, but AgResearch refused to meet them until now.
On Thursday morning three Agresearch board members and three staff sat down with eight southern representatives at the Dunedin Town Hall to hear their objections, and an alternative proposal to keep the Invermay centre intact.
Neither side commented ahead of the meeting, but sources say there could be friction.
Dave Cull has previously said AgResearch must do some listening during the meeting.