OPINION: The biggest issue currently facing our industry is environmental policy, writes Beef+Lamb NZ chief executive Sam McIvor.
The red meat industry has agreed to work together on the seven-year programme.
Wayne McNee, director-general of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), has just approved a commitment of up to $32.4 million from MPI's Primary Growth Partnership Fund (PGP) for the red meat sector's new Collaboration for Sustainable Growth programme.
Red meat sector participants include processing companies that together account for a substantial majority of New Zealand's sheep and beef exports, two banks and Beef + Lamb New Zealand.
It aims to ensure that red meat producers use the best-available farm and business management practices, by addressing gaps in technology transfer and ensuring stronger coordination between organisations and individuals working with farmers.
MPI director general, Wayne McNee says the new PGP programme will transform the delivery of knowledge and capability within the sheep and beef sector.
"Importantly this is the most comprehensive collaboration of its type ever seen in the red meat sector, and the opportunities are very exciting," he says.
The next step is to develop the PGP contract with the Crown and to seek farmer support for their portion of the investment. Delivery is expected to begin in the third quarter of this year.
Organisations in this initiative are: AFFCO, Alliance Group, ANZCO Foods, ANZ Bank, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Blue Sky Meats, Deloitte, Progressive Meats, Rabobank and Silver Fern Farms.
The programme is designed to be open, enabling others to invest. Participants will establish a formal partnership to run the collaboration programme.
Steering group chairman, Dr Scott Champion says the collaboration programme is built on the findings of the Red Meat Sector Strategy and will deliver significantly on the strategy's sector best-practice theme.
The PGP programme comprises several elements, including investigating how farmers prefer to receive and use new information and what drives their profitability, as well as benchmarking and integrating relevant databases. New tools, services and knowledge will be packaged and delivered in a range of ways by programme partners.
"With a new awareness of what drives farm profitability, the collaboration programme will change the sector's focus from one that is dominated by price to one focused on performance, productivity, profitability and the factors we can control," Champion says.
"This investment will support the sector to better control its future and ensure confidence for continued investment."