$65 million meat project

JON MORGAN
Last updated 11:16 29/01/2013

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Meat industry players have agreed to put aside their differences and collaborate on a $65 million project to lift their game.

The Primary Industries Ministry has approved its $32.4m share of the programme and will join leading companies, two banks and sheep and beef farmers' industry-good body.

Ministry director-general Wayne McNee said the aim was to "ensure that red meat producers consistently have access to and are able to effectively use the best-available farm and business management practices".

They would do this by "addressing gaps in technology transfer and ensuring stronger co-ordination between organisations and individuals working with farmers".

The next step was to contract to the Government under its Primary Growth Partnership programme and to get farmers' support.

It was expected to begin rolling out the plan in the third quarter of this year.

The seven-year programme includes Affco, Alliance Group, Anzco Foods, ANZ Bank, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Blue Sky Meats, Deloitte, Progressive Meats, Rabobank and Silver Fern Farms.

Other participants are welcome.

McNee said it was the "most comprehensive collaboration of its type ever seen in the red meat sector, and the opportunities are very exciting".

Steering group chairman Scott Champion, Beef + Lamb chief executive, said the

programme was built on the findings of 2010's Red Meat Sector Strategy.

It comprised several elements, including investigating how farmers preferred to receive and use new information and what drove their profitability, as well as benchmarking and integrating relevant databases. New tools, services and knowledge would be packaged and delivered in a range of ways by programme partners.

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