15 May 2009

Meat industry group to keep up pressure

6:05 am on 15 May 2009

A farmer lobby group pushing for a better structured and performing meat industry has decided to continue the battle because it still needs to be won.

The Meat Industry Action Group agreed at its AGM in Dunedin Thursday to carry on as an independent industry watch-dog.

The group has campaigned for meat company consolidation through mergers.

But it's been inactive after failing to force the two big meat co-operatives, Silver Fern Farms and Alliance back to the merger negotiating table last year.

Chairman John Gregan says the group accepts it made some mistakes in the way it went about its campaign.

But he says it's also awakened awareness of the fragmented and unco-operative state of the industry, and it has received an overwhelming mandate from farmers to carry on.

Mr Gregan says the economic implications of meat companies having to pay higher prices for a significantly reduced supply of stock will put even more pressure on the industry to change.