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Vote For Positive Change

Vote For Positive Change

Farmer-owned co-operative Dairy Meats requires radical change to its current methods of operation, and AFFCO's purchase of it would give an opportunity for that positive change, said Kevin Wooding, Chairman of Dairy Farmers of New Zealand (DFNZ).

Meat processor AFFCO Holdings has offered to buy Dairy Meats, New Zealand's largest processor and marketer of bobby calves. The deal is conditional on the approval of 75 percent of shareholders in the wholly-owned New Zealand dairy farmer co-operative.

Mr Wooding said that Dairy Meats lack of success is not a reflection of any failings in the co-operative model used successfully by other farming sector businesses.

"Many farmers have not supported Dairy Meats because it did not meet the service levels required by dairy farmers running efficient businesses. The purchasing, pick-up and processing of bobby calves is a competitive market -- as it should be -- and Dairy Meats could not match or better its competition.

"Dairy Meats shortcomings have resulted in it losing market share as more farmers have switched to rival processors which were more flexible in their service and offered more timely pick ups of stock.

"Farmers have lost a 16-year-old business which could have been extremely good and that is very disappointing. But this is an appropriate time to make changes to Dairy Meats before it is too late," Mr Wooding said.

"Shareholders will make up their own mind how to vote. But the AFFCO offer appears to be a fair proposal, so I encourage dairy farmers who still have Dairy Meats shares to vote for positive change at the special meeting," Mr Wooding said. The special meeting will be held in Te Awamutu on December 13.

Mr Wooding said that Dairy Meats' demise sent a wake-up call to farmers to become more involved in their co-operatives.

DFNZ is the dairy industry group of Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc).

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