Reform group strategy nears

TIM CRONSHAW
Last updated 13:12 05/07/2013
MIE chairman Richard Young
OFFER STILL OPEN: MIE chairman Richard Young.

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The farmer-driven Meat Industry Excellence (MIE) group remains willing to bring in meat companies into its red meat reforms even though they are working on their own approach.

MIE chairman Richard Young said the group would like to work with the meat companies to draw up a strategy to return sheep farming to profit and growth.

"We have already stated we want an inclusive approach to all stakeholders. We are keeping the pressure on the meat companies for a dateline when they hope to have something out."

Alliance Group chairman Owen Poole said last April that the plan was to release developments with talks between them over the next few months.

Young said the meat companies were due to make an announcement in the next three weeks and this would provide MIE with a better idea if collaborative reform was possible.

He said the MIE group had made good progress since the final meeting when farmers signalled loudly they were in favour of reform.

The group has appointed Ross Hyland, and is recruiting well known leaders for its establishment team including participants in professional fields outside of farming. Hyland is a former shareholder of SealesWinslow and is a director on several university and agri-technology boards.

Over the last two weeks the group's focus has been on recruiting top people for the establishment team. By next month it hopes to be in a position to map out a strategy.

A constitution has been drawn up and paperwork completed for it to become an incorporated society so the group can apply for funding.

Group leaders do not want to lose momentum gained during well attended farmer meetings.

Young said the paperwork stage was needed for the right decision to be made.

"Patience in finding an enduring solution is important because we don't want to be rushed into something in three years time that might lead us back to where we were."

Young said team leaders with strong skillsets were needed to give credibility to the reform programme.

"We have sounded people out and the people we have spoken to have been very supportive of assisting us where they can. We are certainly not going to let up as we are committed to getting a result."

MIE was working with groups such as Federated Farmers and Beef+Lamb, but only in meat reform and would not be sidetracked from achieving its goal, he said.

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