Wednesday, 28 February 2024 10:55

Editorial: Time for action

Written by  Staff Reporters
To mark National Lamb Day, Agriculture Minister McClay hosted bipartisan celebrations of National Lamb Day with industry representatives at Parliament. To mark National Lamb Day, Agriculture Minister McClay hosted bipartisan celebrations of National Lamb Day with industry representatives at Parliament.

OPINION: To ensure beef and sheep farmers get more than heart-warming platitudes out of the new Government, they'll need to hold their feet to the fire whenever they get the chance.

The national woolshed roadshow announced by the Government is a good opportunity to do this. Beef + Lamb NZ chair Kate Acland says sheep and beef farmers face significant financial headwinds and concerns about impending regulations are adding to an already heavy burden.

“We’ve encouraged ministers to get out and get face to face with farmers, so it’s great to see this initiative. It will give ministers direct input from farmers themselves early in the process to ensure changes are sensible and work for farmers on the ground.”

The Government has shown good intent and a willingness to engage, which has been missing in recent years. To mark National Lamb Day, Agriculture Minister McClay hosted bipartisan celebrations of National Lamb Day with industry representatives at Parliament. McClay congratulated sheep farmers on their high-quality products and acknowledged the financial pressures they face.

He also said they’re focused on getting costs down for farmers.

But farmers are going to need more than words. Acland points out the B+LNZ’s economic service analysis shows that sheep farmers are facing their lowest year of profitability in 15 years. And on-farm inflation was 16.3% last year and 10% year before that.

McClay will be joined by Otago sheep farmer Mark Patterson, in his role as Minister for Rural Communities and delegation as Associate Minister responsible for wool on the woolshed roadshow. Patterson says he will work with farmers to rebuild the industry into “a strong sector”.

The new Government has also promised to dismantle legislation that impacts the agriculture sector, including legislation around the contentious emissions targets and pricing.

Sounds good in theory. A few hard followup questions are in order though – about the what, when and how – and hopefully they will be asked at the roadshow (dates & locations still to be announced).

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