Wednesday, 28 February 2024 09:55

Roadshow for sheep farmers

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
Associate Agriculture Minister Mark Patterson serves NZ lamb to Finance Minister Nicola Willis at a barbeque in Parliament grounds recently. Associate Agriculture Minister Mark Patterson serves NZ lamb to Finance Minister Nicola Willis at a barbeque in Parliament grounds recently.

Sheep farmers, facing low farmgate prices, are being urged to attend a national woolshed roadshow announced by the Government.

Beef + Lamb NZ chair Kate Acland says sheep and beef farmers are facing significant financial headwinds and concerns about impending regulation coming into force are adding to an already heavy burden.

"There's a lot to work through in a short amount of time on the various environmental rules and regulations," says Acland.

"We've encouraged ministers to get out and get face to face with farmers, so it's great to see this initiative. It will give Ministers direct input from farmers themselves early in the process to ensure changes are sensible and work for farmers on the ground.

"This will also be a great opportunity for farmers to hear about the work they'll be doing to create greater opportunities for expots and opening new markets like India."

To mark National Lamb Day on February 15, Agriculture Minister Todd McClay hosted bipartisan celebrations of National Lamb Day with industry representatives at Parliament this week to mark the anniversary of the first frozen lamb exports in 1882.

McClay congratulated sheep farmers on the high-quality products they continue to produce. He also acknowledged the financial pressures of sheep farmers.

"The Government is focused on getting costs down for our farmers. We recognise the challenges sheep farmers are facing in the current climate with the oversupply of Australian lamb flooding the market and driving global prices down; and the ongoing barriers faced across the wool sector," McClay says.

"At the same time, we back our farmers who produce high-quality products that are sought globally.

"The Government recognises the red meat sector's enduring resilience as an industry that has consistently contributed to New Zealand's exporting portfolio, and understand we have an obligation to make sure we are not imposing any unnecessary costs on farmers."

Work to reduce the previous government's regulatory burden on farmers has already started. The Government announced that over the next three months McClay will be joined by Otago sheep farmer Mark Patterson, in his role as Minister for Rural Communities and delegation as Associate Minister responsible for wool on a national woolshed roadshow.

"Sheep farmers have long been the backbone of New Zealand's farming communities. Under my delegation as Minister responsible for wool I will be working with farmers to rebuild the industry into a strong sector that recognises the exporting and sustainability potential of the porduct," Patterson says.

"We will be engaging with small catchment groups from Northland to Southland meeting farmers in the woolsheds, and at the farm gate, to discuss grassroots solutions.

"Sheep farmers continue to make an invaluable contribution to our primary sector and this government is committed to celebrating and supporting that," McClay added.

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