Meat & Livestock News

BLNZ Meeting: Farmers Vote Against Fee Hike, Support Key Remits

TL;DR: At the recent Beef + Lamb New Zealand (BLNZ) annual meeting, farmers voted against increasing director fees while showing support for several key farmer-proposed remits. Discussions focused on challenging the notion that livestock significantly contributes to global warming, preserving NZ’s beef and lamb’s natural reputation, and establishing a unified emissions position for the sector. The board is set to review these outcomes and their implications for future action.

In a pivotal gathering that underscores the democratic spirit of the agriculture sector, sheep and beef farmers recently convened at the Beef + Lamb New Zealand (BLNZ) annual meeting in Nelson. The assembly was marked by a significant vote against a proposed increase in director fees, alongside a thoughtful consideration of various farmer-proposed remits that addressed pressing concerns within the industry.

Neil Henderson’s remit, urging BLNZ to counter the narrative that NZ ruminants contribute significantly to global warming, found substantial support among attendees, securing a 65.84% majority. This proposal highlights the sector’s frustration with prevalent misconceptions about livestock’s environmental impact and calls for a more aggressive stance in correcting these myths.

Helen Mandeno’s proposal, which garnered a narrow majority of 50.65%, emphasises the importance of maintaining and protecting New Zealand’s beef and lamb’s reputation for being natural, grass-fed, and non-GE. Mandeno argued that this reputation is vital not just for market success but as a reflection of the core values driving NZ farmers.

Jason Barrier’s push for a unified emissions position (UEP) before engaging in further governmental discussions on emissions drew 59.86% support, signalling a clear desire for cohesive industry advocacy. Barrier’s remit underscores the need for alignment among major agricultural organisations, suggesting that a unified front is crucial for effective negotiation and representation.

Despite these constructive outcomes, proposals concerning BLNZ Genetics and binding remits did not receive enough backing, illustrating the diverse priorities and perspectives within the farming community.

The resolution to increase director fees was notably defeated, with 65.68% voting against it. This decision reflects broader concerns about economic pressures on farms, though BLNZ chair Kate Acland acknowledged the ongoing challenge of aligning director compensation with industry benchmarks.

The meeting’s voter turnout, representing just 12% of registered farmers, was a point of disappointment for BLNZ leadership. This low engagement underscores the challenging times facing the sector, with profitability concerns and operational demands likely influencing participation.

As BLNZ contemplates the meeting’s outcomes, the supported remits stand as a testament to the farming community’s engagement with critical issues facing their industry. The board’s upcoming review will determine the path forward, taking into account the clear directives from its constituents on environmental narratives, marketing integrity, and sector advocacy.