Telling the grass-fed story

Bill Wright_farm 20 March 2017

B+LNZ's new marketing strategy will tell the story about the farmers behind the product, as well as the quality, nutritional value and food safety that underpins our red meat industry, says Bill Wright.

Telling our red meat story

Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s new marketing strategy is focusing on the fantastic story behind New Zealand’s red meat industry.

Developed with the support of processors, this marketing programme will tell the story about the farmers behind the product, as well as the quality, nutritional value and food safety that underpins our red meat industry.

The market development team has got some really innovative people on board with a wealth of experience. On a recent visit to this country, food innovator Mike Lee, the CEO and founder of New York-based based Studio Industries, has highlighted what a great product we have and believes we have the ability to leverage off the grass-fed image.

Protecting our environment

Last month I attended Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s (B+LNZ) Environment Conference in Wellington. This conference, which was attended by around 60 farmers and industry people, has come a long way in the past three years. It reflects our organisation’s investment in environmental projects on sheep and beef farms throughout the country for the ultimate benefit of our soils and waterways.

We have some challenges with the way the Land and Water Regional Plans are being implemented in some regions, but B+LNZ is able to help with submissions and has resources available to support farmers and communities in the submission process. It is important our industry achieves outcomes that will allow our farmers to farm profitably while protecting and enhancing our environment.

The Government’s recently announced Freshwater Policy Statement, which aims to have 90% of our rivers deemed swimmable, resonates pretty well with most farmers. Many of us swam and fished in rivers as children and hope our grandchildren can do the same. Overall, communities working together for the outcome we all desire is a good approach to managing freshwater.

B+LNZ workshops

B+LNZ has been running one-day Farm Environment Plan (FEP) workshops throughout the country. Free to farmer levy-payers, these workshops help those attending put together a farm-specific environment plan which fits with an individual’s management objectives. These plans are working documents and essentially help underpin management decisions to achieve the best outcomes for the farm business and the farm environment. Amongst the other workshops B+LNZ facilitates are the Farm Safety Management System workshops. These help farmers put together a health and safety plan specific to their business which ensures they are compliant with regulations. But more importantly is the peace of mind that comes from knowing you have done your best to ensure your farm is a safe and healthy work environment.

Back on the farm...

As we head in autumn, we have cattle grazing maize, the barley has been harvested and most of the new grasses and Italians are drilled. Ewe mating is only a month away, so we are thinking about how we can repeat the good scanning result from last year. It really does come down to ewe condition and body weight.  Water leaks seem to be a real time-consumer at the moment, so we are digging holes in all sorts of place to try and find the problem.

Great to see the NZ team do well at the World Shearing champs and our own Tony Dodds get second in the Blade Shearing. Another Kiwi success story.

Bill Wright is Beef + Lamb New Zealand's Central South Island farmer director.

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