The boss of the Ministry for Primary Industries was in Mid Canterbury recently to listen to farmers' personal experiences as they go through Mycoplasma bovis phased eradication.
MPI's newly appointed director-general, Ray Smith, started in the role on November 1, after Martyn Dunne retired.

Mr Smith was keen to speak to industry members and M.bovis-affected farmers about their experiences with phased eradication, to hear what farmers were saying and act on feedback.

His attendance at a Federated Farmers meeting in Ashburton on November 21 drew a mixed response.

Mid Canterbury Federated Farmers president Michael Salvesen said the farmers were fine with him being there as ''he was talking the talk''. But ''we'll see if he's walking the walk'' was the general thought.


''And [we'll] give him a bit of space to do that because there's no point in putting unreasonable pressure on him when he's trying to fix the problems they have got ... we'll just wait and see,'' Mr Salvesen said.

Mr Smith wanted to hear what farmers were saying and committed to taking feedback back to MPI staff ''so we can fix what needs fixing''.

He also wanted to build on areas of the phased eradication that were working ''because many things are and it's important to recognise that''.

''Some of the stories I heard on Wednesday were tough and I am in no doubt that Mycoplasma bovis has been challenging for some farmers - particularly those that have been through a lengthy process,'' Mr Smith said.

''What I took away from the meeting was that we need to ensure we're giving farmers consistent and timely communication and following through on doing what we say we will do.

He said the process had not always worked for some people and there was ''room for improvement''.

''I am committed to working with my team to make sure the process is as painless and streamlined as possible for those affected by the phased eradication response.''

Mr Smith said 350 people were working on M.bovis eradication and ''doing good work''.


He has spent the past three weeks travelling the country to meet teams from within the ministry and see the work they do.