Sheep and beef plan on agenda

Beef + Lamb New Zealand director Andy Fox will be in Blenheim on Thursday to tell farmers about a proposed $65 million project aimed at lifting the nation's income from sheep and beef farming.

Plans for a red meat primary growth partnership will stand or fall on a farmer vote to be counted at the Beef + Lamb annual meeting at Wanaka on March 8. On-line voting is open on this and other resolutions, including the suggestion that a woolgrower levy be returned. Farmers can vote by post or by proxy at the Wanaka meeting.

The seven-year project would include Silver Fern Farms, Affco, Alliance Group, Anzco Foods, Blue Sky Meats and Progressive Meats, ANZ Bank, Rabobank and corporate adviser Deloitte.

Farmer investment would meet 30 per cent of costs, each dollar leveraging $2.33 from the Government and industry partners.

Beef + Lamb would fund its $19.7m share from a combination of existing funds and by drawing on $10m of $82m Meat Board reserves, including $55m set aside to cope with the aftermath of a foot and mouth disease outbreak.

The Government has committed $32.4m under the Ministry of Primary Industries' primary growth partnership programme.

The aim of the programme would be to shift the focus of the industry from price to influencing performance, productivity and profitability.

The meeting will be at 4pm at the Scenic Hotel in Blenheim.


The Marlborough Express