30 Jan 2013

Farmers expected to back research programme

1:45 pm on 30 January 2013

Federated Farmers expects sheep and beef farmers to back the latest meat industry initiative to attract government funding.

The Government has committed more than $30 million from the Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) Fund to cover half the cost of the seven year Collaboration for Sustainable Growth programme to help farmers lift their performance with best farming practices.

Meat companies and banks are also supporting the programme as part of the strategy to lift the value of the whole red meat sector.

Their backing depends on farmers agreeing to fund 30% of the $65 million cost through the use of reserve and levy money from Beef and Lamb New Zealand.

Farmers will vote on that at Beef and Lamb's AGM in March and Federated Farmers meat and fibre chair Jeanette Maxwell expects farmers will give it their support.

She says it is a real opportunity to use outside money to help move the industry forward through greater efficiencies.

The two big meat co-operatives, Alliance and Silver Fern Farms, along with AFFCO, ANZCO Foods, Blue Sky Meats and Progressive Meats are contributing.

Silver Fern farms had initially condemned the project because it felt it duplicated and undermined another programme receiving PGP funding, Farm IQ , which aims to create an integrated value chain for red meat. Chief executive Keith Cooper says those concerns have been laid to rest.

Beef and Lamb chairman Mike Petersen says the collaboration with meat companies is designed to complement other PGP funded research programmes aimed at making the meat industry more profitable.