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Hairy mutant calves


20 September 2012

Hairy mutant calves

Federated Farmers met with LIC on Tuesday to try to secure a solution that works for LIC’s farmer-shareholders and farmers affected by calf-mutation.

“I guess the best summary is that we spoke and they spoke,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy chairperson.

“Our only hope is LIC may reflect on what we said over the next few days. This is not about winners or losers because no one is winning right now.

“While LIC has offered to reimburse the cost of artificial insemination straws, any farmer whose cows didn’t get pregnant could well say, ‘there by the grace of God, go I”.

“Those farmers that had calves born with this mutation will see the offer as rubbing salt into an open wound.

“The issue here is that Federated Farmers has tried to impress on LIC the importance of not just making a gesture of goodwill, but of goodwill itself. I suppose we want them to put themselves into the gumboots of affected shareholder-farmers.

“While unconnected to Federated Farmers, we are now aware of talk a group is being formed to pursue damages.

“The concern we have is that this could polarise LIC’s shareholding. For the most part LIC is a progressive cooperative but this risks civil war with shareholders taking on LIC and pitting farmer against farmer.

“That is not what Federated Farmers wants because LIC needs to learn lessons from Matrix. Any business that identifies issues that may affect customers and shareholders alike, has a duty to communicate early and communicate well.

“I guess the ball is now in LIC’s court. The Federation urges them to think carefully where they are right now and where this could end up taking them.

“LIC also have to realise the customer is always right,” Mr Leferink concluded.


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