Co-operation the key to PGP

By David Burt

Co-operation is the best word describing bold plans for both our underappreciated goats industry and also red meat sector.

Federated Farmers Goats Industry Group executive now has representatives from Meat Goat New Zealand and Dairy Goat Co-operative.

Meanwhile, unprecedented red meat collaboration could come under the Collaboration for Sustainable Growth Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) announced on January 29.

Both are positive examples of industries choosing to act and take strength from collaboration rather than let differences divide them. The Federation feels they are important steps forward in order to grow.

Both initiatives could be seen as playing well with others. In children, this term marks an important developmental milestone, but in business, this co-operative or collaborative behavior is often subsumed by competitive work cultures or individual pressures.

All levy paying farmers will receive information packs from Beef+Lamb NZ. To progress this PGP needs farmers to vote "yes." The vote closes on March 8.

MPI Director General Wayne McNee describes this PGP as the most comprehensive collaboration ever seen in the red meat sector, involving AFFCO, Alliance Group, ANZCO Foods, Beef + Lamb NZ, Silver Fern Farms, Blue Sky Meats, Progressive Meats and ANZ Bank, Deloitte and Rabobank.

Beef+Lamb NZ's Scott Champion says "it will refocus red meat to performance, productivity, profitability and the factors we can control".

Farmers and what drives their profitability is at its core, benchmarking and integrating relevant databases leading to new tools, services and knowledge.

Federated Farmers' Jeanette Maxwell says in the year to December 2007, red meat exports represented around 58 per cent of dairying's export value, but 2012's figure was down to 45 per cent.

"If we had kept up the 2007 percentage, our exports today would be some $1.4 billion greater. A lot rides on this PGP shaping a united value adding export front. If this leads to better returns then farmers will buy into initiatives to grow the sector.

"The current discussion about cutting capacity is the wrong argument. It should be about growing and if that is what Beef+Lamb's information packs outline, then this PGP stacks up," Maxwell says.

- Hamilton News

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