The Hound reckons Fonterra must have one of the largest teams of spin-doctors and PR hacks in corporate NZ.
“When the weather is good farmers make money and the meat processors don’t.
“When the meat processors make money then the farmers don’t,” he says.
“We have to change that. It is part of changing the farming business model so that everyone in the value chain gets some of the premium.”
Barton and wife Sharon have developed a successful premium beef and lamb brand based on the environmental stewardship required to farm within the strict nitrogen limits of the Taupo catchment. They were the 2014 Waikato winners of the Farm Environment Awards.
Barton says the development of premium export brands nationally, based on environmental stewardship, needs to be done across all catchments.
“The bulk of what we produce is exported. Export markets around the world do not need 16 different regional ticks and a whole range of different catchment brands,” he told a Beef + Lamb NZ environmental field day at the Te Opu farm in the Kaipara region.
“We have to start thinking about how we compare a farmer here in Maungaturoto doing the right thing for the Kaipara Harbour, with a farmer in Taupo doing the right thing by nitrogen, and a farmer in the Rangitata Valley in the South Island who has different issues again.