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World Meat Congress provides new insights

World Meat Congress provides new insights

Wairarapa sheep and beef farmer Guy Didsbury has recently returned from the World Meat Congress in Cape Town, South Africa having attended as the winner of Rabobank’s World Meat Congress competition.

The 2008 World Meat Congress hosted approximately 500 delegates, who heard presentations and panel discussions on a wide range of meat industry issues including – livestock production and research, improving livestock health and meat safety, trends in consumption and consumer behaviour, and issues affecting global meat trade.

Mr Didsbury said “attending the congress was an invaluable experience and helped to provide me with an international perspective on the meat industry and an indication as to where world meat markets are heading”

“There were some outstanding presenters from a number of different countries and it was fantastic to have the opportunity to network with farmers and other influential meat industry representatives from other parts of the world” he said.

Mr Didsbury also felt that, while the standard of presentations was high, the congress highlighted how fortunate New Zealand farmers are in relation to the industry information available to them, saying “I also realised that thanks to Rabobank – and in particular, Hayley Moynihan – we are actually very well informed here in New Zealand”

Mr Didsbury won the trip for two to the Congress after his name was drawn from the more than 700 entries Rabobank received for the competition. With Mr Didsbury’s wife expecting the couple’s second child he opted to invite close friend Jody Hume, a sheep and beef farmer from Rere, to join him on the trip. Guy and Jody were also accompanied by Rabobank Dunedin finance manager Brent Irving.

Mr Hume was also thrilled with the opportunity to attend the event and said “it was great to get an appreciation of the overall size of the market we operate in and hear from leaders in the industry”

As well as attending the congress Mr Didsbury, Mr Hume and Mr Irving visited a number of farming properties in South Africa. The trio visited a sheep and beef property and a large scale citrus farm, both located 1000 kilometres to the east of Cape Town near Port Elizabeth. All three agreed that these farm tours were enormously beneficial.

Mr Irving said “the farm visits were extremely worthwhile, it was very interesting to discuss with the locals the issues facing South African farming and to compare and contrast them with those we face in New Zealand”

Mr Irving also said that the presentations at the congress and discussions with other delegates at the event highlighted how highly New Zealand’s farming system is viewed by the rest of the world.

“New Zealand’s farming system is held in high regard by many of the people I spoke to at the congress. Issues that we in New Zealand may consider as a drawback are often viewed differently elsewhere. For example, while we regard our distance from overseas markets as a negative, others view our isolation as helping to safeguard New Zealand livestock from the spread of disease” he said.

Mr Irving said Rabobank was pleased to run the competition and provide the trip to the congress. “The competition provided Guy, Jody and I with the opportunity to increase our global knowledge of the meat industry and is another way that Rabobank demonstrates its ongoing support for the sheep and beef industry.


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