Farmers urged to voice opposition to hub move

DIANE BISHOP
Last updated 18:09 04/03/2014

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Southern farmers opposed to AgResearch relocating its Invermay hub in Otago to Lincoln in Canterbury are being urged to attend a consultation meeting in Gore this month.

The meeting is being organised by the Southern Texel Breeders Association and will be chaired by Balfour farmer Jeff Grant.

Southern Texel Breeders chairman Hugh Gardyne believed AgResearch may have softened its stance about relocating its Invermay hub to Lincoln and he wanted farmers to show their support.

"We wouldn't be having this meeting if we didn't think we had a crack at changing things," he said.

Gardyne said texel breeders were driving the meeting because they used a lot of the facilities at Invermay and were in direct contact with the science community.

The meeting had been requested so AgResearch could outline any contracts, agreements, reports and discussions that had progressed to date.

Gardyne said he was aware of the importance of agricultural and animal research to drive New Zealand's economy, but did not believe it would be beneficial to move the Invermay hub to Lincoln.

"Invermay and Lincoln have very different climates and soil types.

"If research is to be useful and applied, it seems logical to make it as accurate and fit for purpose as possible," he said.

Gardyne said AgResearch wanted to spend $100 million creating a hub at Lincoln despite spending more than $17 million at Invermay only five years ago.

He was also concerned that a significant number of staff would not relocate to Lincoln causing a loss of intellectual horsepower.

"If the Government wants to achieve its growth strategy then the retention of Invermay is paramount."

The consultation meeting will be held at the Heartland Hotel in Gore on Wednesday, March 12, at 1.30pm.

"If farmers want to make an impact, then it is important they attend," he said.

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- The Southland Times

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