Meat & Livestock News

Beef + Lamb NZ CEO Urges New Government for Clear Roadmap on Agriculture Challenges

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In a recent discussion, Sam McIvor, the Chief Executive of Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ), expressed the need for the new government to establish a comprehensive and coherent roadmap addressing a range of issues critical to the agriculture sector.

These include regulation, environmental concerns, climate change, water management, and research and development.

McIvor criticised the previous government’s disjointed approach, which he described as confusing for farmers due to the lack of proper sequencing in introducing new laws and regulations. He advocates for a more integrated approach to ensure better outcomes.

The sheep and beef sector, according to McIvor, is currently facing significant challenges, particularly in the sheepmeat market. This is attributed to the economic situation in China and Australia’s reduction of its sheep flock, leading to an oversupply of sheepmeat and a consequent imbalance in supply and demand. 

However, the beef market is faring better, with growing demand and higher prices, especially in the United States.

On the domestic front, McIvor noted that on-farm inflation and interest rates have not eased as expected. He expressed concern over the regulatory costs and the implementation of regional and district plans under the National Policy Statement (NPS).

McIvor believes some of these plans, which are due for completion by the end of 2024, are overly ambitious and could threaten the economic viability of regional farming communities. He urges the incoming government to pause these plans until there is a clear understanding of the NPS’s bottom lines.

McIvor emphasised the need for a strategic, long-term approach to environmental regulations, advocating for support and practical solutions for farmers rather than punitive measures. He pointed out that farmers are not opposed to the direction of environmental reforms but seek pragmatic support.

Additionally, McIvor highlighted the importance of opening new markets and addressing non-tariff trade barriers, which currently impact New Zealand’s red meat sector by more than $1 billion. He also called for a review of climate change targets to ensure they are science-based and equitable for the primary sector. McIvor stressed the need for tools to help farmers achieve climate goals rather than setting arbitrary targets.

Finally, he underscored the lack of a clear research and development strategy in New Zealand, advocating for a focus on innovation and global engagement to advance this area.