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Sheep & beef farmers to vote on genetics investment proposal

Media release

26 February 2014

Sheep and beef farmers to vote on genetics investment proposal

New Zealand sheep and beef farmers are being asked to consider a proposal that would combine Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s current genetics investments and speed up genetic advances.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chief Executive, Dr Scott Champion said voting packs were out with farmers now and they were being asked to support the organisation’s continued investment of $2.9 million a year, for the next five years.

“This would be matched by the Government which has already said it will invest $3 million a year if the proposal is supported by farmers,” Dr Champion said.

A successful vote would bring together the currently separate activities of Sheep Improvement Ltd (the national sheep genetic database), the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Central Progeny Test and Ovita with added investment in beef genetics, in a new entity called Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics.

The investment would support a range of research around identifying new breeding traits to produce more efficient animals and those that meet consumer preferences in our export markets.

“Of particular focus will be finding traits that thrive on hill country, as increasingly this is where New Zealand sheep and beef production is based with changing land use on flatter land to dairy.”

Voting on the proposal will close at the time of the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Annual Meeting which is being held in Feilding at the Manfeild Park Arena, 3 pm on Friday 14 March 2014.

At the same time, farmers are also being asked to vote on a proposal by an independent industry group to investigate the value proposition for a future wool levy, and there is a request from the Meat Industry Excellence (MIE) group seeking financial assistance from Beef + Lamb New Zealand to support its efforts with red meat sector reform.  Information on these proposals is also included in the voting pack.

The Beef + Lamb New Zealand Annual Meeting also sees two new Beef + Lamb New Zealand farmer-elected directors introduced to farmers. They are Waikaka Valley farmer Andrew Morrison who will represent the Southern South Island electorate and Wairarapa farmer George Tatham who will represent the Eastern North Island electorate.

They were both elected unopposed before Christmas and replace existing Beef + Lamb New Zealand farmer-elected directors who had not sought re-election.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chairman, Mike Petersen, who is the Eastern North Island farmer director, will stand down at the annual meeting having served on the board for the past 10 years – seven of those as Chairman.

Leon Black, the current Southern South Island farmer director is standing down after serving six years on the board.

Information about the annual meeting and the matters for consideration are available at: www.beeflambnz.com/AGM

ENDS

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