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Sheep Farmers Face Desperate Times

3 December 2007
Sheep Farmers Face Desperate Times

The sheep-meat industry is in desperate need of higher prices to return farms to a financially viable position and ensure that New Zealand has a sheep-meat industry in the future, said chair of Federated Farmers Meat and Fibre Producers’Council, Keith Kelly.

“Farmers need $100 for high quality prime lambs, with proportionately increased prices for store lambs, in order for sheep farmers to survive. Currently, the depressed store market is reporting returns from some areas of only $20 to $25 per lamb. It is impossible to run a sheep farming business at these levels of return, Mr Kelly said.

“There is every confidence that the long term future of the industry is good but, after several years of unsustainable returns, higher farm gate prices are needed now to ensure farmers can remain in the industry.

“Sheep farmers recognise that they need to examine their practices and to develop better long-term relationships with their processors of choice and their customers

“Farmers equally need their supply chain partners – processors, exporters and marketers – to step up and ensure that premium lamb products achieve premium prices in world markets.

“The sheep-meat sector is a major contributor to New Zealand’s export earnings and without it all New Zealanders would be worse off.

“The Federation’s Meat and Fibre Council is dedicated to the survival and growth of the industry and is willing to work with any and all other stakeholders to ensure the return of the sheep-meat industry to a sustainable and profitable basis,” said Mr Kelly.

“It is essential that all industry stakeholders show leadership at this time. The Meat and Fibre Council is committed to developing leadership within the industry and will be encouraging all elected members to attend Federated Farmers’ leadership courses.

The Federated Farmers’ Meat and Fibre Council meeting was held in Wellington last week. Discussion was focused on the theme ‘Taking Back Control'.


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