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T150 - Federated Farmers targets $150 a lamb

29 September 2008

T150 - Federated Farmers targets $150 a lamb

Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre chairman, Bruce Wills, today launched the Federation's T150 campaign at Stortford Lodge Stockyards in Hastings.

The T150 campaign sets a goal of $150 a lamb for the sheep-meat and wool industries to work towards over the next five years.

"The average lamb price received by farmers over the past three years was only $55 per lamb, and the average sheep farmer's income was $19,400 last year. This has resulted in many sheep farmers leaving the industry. The Federation believes that the targeted return should be at least $150 to restore viability to the sector. This is why the "target $150 a lamb" campaign has been launched today," Mr Wills said.

"For several years now sheep farmers have been getting inadequate returns on their efforts and capital. New Zealand is seeing large changes in land use and as a result a very large drop in sheep numbers - from around 40 million to 34 million over the past two years alone."

"These poor returns have had a flow-on impact in New Zealand's towns and cities with job losses at freezing works being an example of this. Lamb exports contribute over $2 billion per annum to the New Zealand economy and it is of grave concern to the country that such an important industry is in crisis."

"This downward spiral is potentially terminal and will continue if the value farmers receive for their lambs stay at current low levels. To continue to have viable sheep-meat and wool industries, to preserve the tens of thousands of down-stream jobs many communities rely upon and to maintain major overseas earnings for New Zealand, it is essential that farmers get more for their stock."

"While there have been different proposals and discussions on ownership and structure in the meat processing sector of late, there is no clear focus on what the industry should be aiming for over the next five years. The T150 campaign will provide that."

"We know that $150 will not be an easy target to meet. Federated Farmers believes heads need to be lifted on a target that is tangible, inspirational but above all, achievable."

"We see much of this extra value coming from efficiencies and rationalisation within the supply chain. Currently farmers receive less than 20% of the retail value of a lamb. Farmers too have their part to play. We need to commit to supply contracts with our meat processors and spread our selling season."

"Federated Farmers also believes that a recognised target will give farmers a context within which to make decisions about how they farm and a focus on future changes to industry structure. Those proposing change should ask themselves, "How will this initiative help reach the $150 lamb target?"

"Federated Farmers of New Zealand wants all those involved in the lamb supply chain, from the paddock to the plate, from our farmer members to processors, researchers, marketers, transporters and supermarkets to lift their sights and help achieve our goal."

ENDS

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