Tuesday, 20 February 2024 09:55

Dairy, lamb on the same page

Written by  Peter Burke
Agriculture Minister Todd McClay (left) and Fonterra chief executive Miles Hurrell at national lamb day celebrations in Parliament last week. Agriculture Minister Todd McClay (left) and Fonterra chief executive Miles Hurrell at national lamb day celebrations in Parliament last week.

Fonterra chief executive Miles Hurrell was delighted to throw his support behind the national lamb day celebration held at Parliament last week.

He was among politicians, diplomats, officials, and ag industry leaders who attended a special BBQ in Wellington last week.

Hurrell told Dairy News that he was delighted to be at the event and support the meat industry which he says is very much a partner with the dairy industry in earning export dollars for NZ on the international market.

"We are all trying to sell the same story around the good way we treat our animals and land here in NZ and taking that story to the international market. So, we are saying the same messages and in no way are we competing. Let’s face it, our products go into the same restaurants,” he says.

Hurrell says National Lamb Day is a very special day. He says people talk a lot about the international markets because most of our produce goes overseas, but he says we should also recognise the important part it plays here in NZ.

“So, this is a very good day,” he says.

The same day the country was celebrating the lamb industry, Fonterra lifted its forecast farmgate milk price by another 30c/kgMS.

But while Hurrell acknowledged that things were picking up in the dairy industry, there was still a long way to go until the end of the season. But he added the signs of life are looking good.

“China has come off its lows but still has not rebounded to the levels we’d like to see. But overall, the China relationship is in a good state and our food service business up there is going very well,” he says.

Back home, Hurrell says the country is drying out as the El Nino weather pattern starts to take effect. But he says the occasional bits of rain have helped and milk production is still fine.

The BBQ was to celebrate national lamb day – an event to commemorate the sending of the first refrigerated lamb carcasses to the UK but also to raise awareness of the importance of the sheep industry to the NZ economy. It was hosted by agriculture minister Todd McClay, but was very much a bipartisan political event with representatives from the various political parties in a friendly jovial mood and many, including McClay serving up some delicious lamb sausages and kebabs to guests.

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