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Using Science and Skills to keep Ahead

4 July 2006

Groundspread using Science and Skills to keep Ahead

Jim Anderton gave a speech today to the Groundspread Fertilisers' Association 50th Jubilee Conference, in Auckland, outlining the challenges for the land-based primary industries and praising the association for their strategic responses to changing market conditions.

"Quality in environmental performance is much more than an international market issue, although that is a high priority too. New Zealanders' have high expectations about water quality in our rivers and lakes and improving our water quality is a priority for the Labour-Progressive government through the Sustainable Water Plan of Action programme. We have to clean up our act locally, but if we want to keep competing in the most affluent markets of the world, our management and food production quality must be the best.

"Groundspread have taken this message on board as land-based producers increase their use of fertiliser nitrogen to achieve greater productivity. Meeting the demands of the environment and of agricultural productivity requires the fertiliser spreading industry and farmers to use the latest tools and knowledge available," Jim Auckland said.

"Accuracy in the placement of fertiliser is, and will continue to be, a major factor in meeting these challenges. Groundspread's early initiative in developing the Spreadmark programme, and now as a key partner in the Fertiliser Quality Council, provides us with a strong example of the leadership required to ensure that as a country we can meet, and beat, these challenges.

"The investment this industry makes in research and the effort you are putting into quality is helping you maintain your competitive edge. The robust audit process of the Code is what persuaded European importers to accept Spreadmark, rather than requiring growers to implement a separate input traceability system," Jim Anderton said.

"Your challenge, which is also a challenge to your farmer clients, is to ensure the widespread adoption of the Spreadmark programme. The challenge for the industry is to accelerate the rate of adoption of the Spreadmark Code of Practice. Spreadmark Certification of all ground spreader vehicles operating in New Zealand will send a strong signal to New Zealander's and our international markets alike.

"We have to demonstrate that our methods of production are environmentally friendly. Our investment in innovation and science allows us to overcome our chief disadvantage - our distance from our markets. Science and skills will help us to stay ahead of the game as world markets change even faster," Jim Anderton said today.

ENDS

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