Sheep breeders stand firm on AgResearch

DIANE BISHOP
Last updated 05:00 21/04/2014

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A group of southern sheep breeders are standing by their call for a vote of no confidence in the board of AgResearch.

And they are urging other farmers to do the same, saying AgResearch failed to review the decision to drastically cut staff and move its sheep genetics and genomics teams from the Invermay Research Centre to Lincoln following a meeting in Gore more than a month ago.

Southern Texel Breeders Association chairman Hugh Gardyne said none of those who had presented at the meeting, including former AgResearch Invermay scientist George Davis and former director Jock Allison, had received a response from AgResearch's board or management.

"As meeting convenors we have not even been afforded the courtesy of a reply," Gardyne said.

AgResearch chairman Sam Robinson said the board had not avoided consultation with stakeholders and had been in contact with more than 150 organisations and more than 300 individuals.

"This has included proactive and reactive meetings, phone calls and letters. We are continuing to meet with stakeholders throughout New Zealand."

Robinson said the board was in the process of writing to everyone on the Sheep Improvement Ltd database with additional information about its plan.

"We are planning other opportunities to speak face-to-face with farmers, and more specifically ram breeders in the coming months."

He understood southern farmers held specific concerns over the future of Invermay, fearing they would lose important regional science and contact with AgResearch.

"In the long term we want to increase, not reduce, the science expertise available to ram breeders and others in the pastoral sector," he said.

Gardyne said AgResearch could not ignore submissions from stakeholders.

He urged farmers to vote on the motion of no confidence in AgResearch.

 

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