Posts Tagged ‘NAIT’

NAIT still long way from meeting original objective

August 24, 2018

NAIT is like a long running soap opera which viewers can watch faithfully for a couple of years, go back to after a long absence and find nothing much has changed. It was first thought of back in 2004, took eight years of argument, design, business case preparation and readings in parliament and it was finally implemented in July 2012 with a three year lead-in for cattle. (more…)


Red Meat sector confident despite some headwinds

August 11, 2018

Since I attended the 2016 conference, having missed last year’s, several things have changed considerably: two years ago Donald Trump wasn’t President, Silver Fern Farms hadn’t concluded its capital raising with a Chinese investor, alternative proteins and non-meat burgers weren’t on the industry’s radar and there was little recognition of the need for a Red Meat Story. (more…)

Red Meat Story about more than brand image

February 22, 2017

There has been a great deal of progress towards the development of the New Zealand Red Meat Story, but most of it has been happening under the radar. That is all about to change. B+LNZ is holding a workshop on 1st and 2nd March at which a wide group of industry participants – farmers, government, processors and exporters – will gather to start formulating the detail of the story, assisted by a strong line-up of guest speakers with international experience in brand development. (more…)

NAIT satisfaction with progress suggests complacency

March 2, 2016

In July last year I raised the problem of accurately identifying and recording all cattle movements, citing the issues experienced by a farmer friend who had no success in reconciling stock on his farm with NAIT’s records. The farmer had contacted NAIT which eventually got back to him, but the process of reconciliation was several weeks out of date. (more…)

Efforts continue to get to the bottom of NAIT puzzle

July 15, 2015

The saga continues, as my Warkworth friend attempts to find out how NAIT intends to ensure correct reconciliation of livestock records, but as yet without a totally satisfactory answer. After further contact, NAIT’s acting Group Manager Sam McIvor replied with answers to the main points raised and I understand the conversation will continue, as both parties try to convince the other of their respective point of view. (more…)

Election result should be good for agriculture

October 1, 2014

Beef+Lamb NZ’s Manifesto which was issued before the Election contains a very concise summary of the red meat sector’s wish list for the next three years, although it doesn’t necessarily include the big elephant in the room of meat industry restructure. But the National government’s attitude on that one is well known and unlikely to change until the industry can present an agreed solution favoured by a majority of industry participants.


I contacted Nathan Guy, at present acting Minister of Agriculture, to find out the government’s priorities for the next term and how they dovetailed with the B+LNZ and Federated Farmers manifestos. He responded in some detail, stating satisfaction with the strong support received from rural New Zealand which gave confidence the last government was very much on the right track.


Major initiatives would be RMA reform, a strong policy requirement of the Prime Minister, continuing focus on strengthening biosecurity protection, investment in science and innovation which has increased 70% since 2007/8, attracting more young people into careers in agriculture, more free trade deals, an increase in water storage and developing the potential of Maori agriculture.


This all seems pretty consistent with the two manifestos, although there will never be enough money to go round all the priorities listed. Feds’ push for $600 million additional investment in science over the next three years with specific reference to the three Centres of Research Excellence which missed out on the last funding round may be a leap too far. $1.5 billion is already committed for next year with a large proportion going towards the primary industries through universities, the Callaghan Institute, the Sustainable Farming Fund, AgResearch and Scion.


PGP funding of $708 million has been allocated across 18 different projects with matching industry investment with an assessed potential to generate returns of up to $11 billion by 2025. My impression from Guy was very much the intention to proceed with present policies which all appear to be on track to deliver the desired outcomes.


My first question to B+LNZ’s chairman James Parsons was whether he saw any change to current policy settings following National’s re-election as well as whether there were any specific areas where more action and investment were needed.


He is very committed to the success of the PGP programme, citing the Red Meat Profit Partnership as a prime example of the benefits from providing a platform from which nine partners – six processors, two banks and B+LNZ – could combine forces; there was no way this would have happened without government funding.


One of Parsons’ main concerns is to achieve the goal of the People Powered report produced in July to attract an average of 5000 people a year into the industry. However as the report shows over the next 10 years, the most important factor will not be the absolute number of entrants, but the change in the make up of the workforce. In 2012 44% of the workforce had a tertiary qualification, but this will rise to 62% by 2025.


Government response has been to raise subsidies for agricultural degrees at tertiary level or higher, as well as looking to improve information and material available to careers advisers. I suspect this will not be nearly enough on its own to achieve the required rate of increase. It remains a mystery why a career in agriculture, New Zealand’s largest export sector by a country mile, continues to be less attractive than a whole range of other less exciting and productive choices.


Other priorities for B+LNZ include environmental policy with a sensible discussion about nutrient allocation, reduced regulation where appropriate, and negotiation of improved trade access agreements with important trading partners where New Zealand is at a disadvantage. Specific examples of priority agreements on tariffs which must be pursued vigorously are Korea and Japan, particularly on beef access, where progress has been slow.

Japan’s commitment to the TPP has stalled over dairy access, while Australia has a sub optimal FTA which provides for reducing beef tariffs, while New Zealand beef tariffs into Korea will be higher than those enjoyed by Canada and Australia from 2015. Non tariff barriers on Chinese imports of beef and green runners and beef to Indonesia are also an issue in need of urgent resolution.


Parsons corrected me when I raised the necessity of introducing NAIT for sheep if we are serious about controlling disease outbreaks such as Foot and Mouth. This would impose a conservatively estimated cost of $80 million on sheep farmers to track stock in the event of an incursion of what is a wind borne disease. NAIT is more relevant to food safety than biosecurity problems. An infinitely preferable mechanism for tracking livestock would be the mandated introduction of electronic Animal Status Declarations to avoid the use of paper records, impossible to trace quickly and comprehensively.


One topic notable by its absence from the manifesto is a Government Industry Agreement with the meat industry, already signed with the kiwifruit and bee industries. B+LNZ suggests road testing a GIA document for an outbreak of FMD before the industry would be willing to make a commitment.


On balance the new government’s agricultural policies appear to correspond to the wishes of the red meat sector which is a good start, built on the solid foundation of the last three years’. At a time when global demand for beef and sheepmeat is robust, this is a good time to emphasise the sector’s importance to our economy.

Red Meat Sector Working Together

September 13, 2011

This week’s joint red meat sector conference in Rotorua was the first time ever farmers and processors have met at their own conference to listen and contribute to discussions on the future of their industry. On the face of it, the conference was a great success – well attended, stimulating presentations, constructive networking. (more…)

UK livestock control debacle suggests NAIT may be overkill

August 2, 2011

The stark contrast between theNew ZealandandUKlivestock control systems struck me very forcibly when I was inBritainlast month. Two articles, one in the Daily Telegraph, the other in that great satirical publication Private Eye, provided a graphic summary of the state of affairs there, contrasting strongly with the report by our Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment on 1080. (more…)

Reasons for Electronic Animal ID and Traceability

April 19, 2011

One positive move by NAIT has been the recognition of RFID as one definite, if not the only, means of animal ID, in both full and half duplex versions. As a result farmers can invest in electronic tags and tagging equipment, with complete confidence this investment will not be superseded or made redundant by an alternative form of technology. RFID doesn’t require investment in expensive information recording and transmitting equipment, since paper-based uploading of data to the national registry will still be possible, particularly in areas without broadband. This decision preserves the option of alternative methods of identification such as DNA or optical imaging.

Therefore in spite of the delays and disagreements, it looks as if those beef producers still waiting for firm guidance can proceed with confidence down the road towards recording their individual animal details and getting themselves all set up to meet future market access and customer demands for their production. Obviously every producer will have a different perspective on how far they want to commit, but this decision should reflect two factors: the minimum required to comply with the system specifications and how much benefit to their farming practice they can earn from further investment.

In its Strategic Direction 2005 -2008 New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) reviewed current and future market access needs, concluding that animal ID and traceability requirements “will be incrementally built on as time moves on” and “the key question….is when, not if, and to what extent.” In his speech to the NZ Meat and Fibre Producers Council last November, Keith Kelly, Chairman of the Council, stated “we need to drive the national animal identification and traceability project to completion….because there are several instances where the lack of an effective traceability system has cost farmers dearly.” He goes on to cite effects overseas of the very costly international outbreaks of BSE, foot and mouth, and blue tongue,”yet New Zealand sits on its hands and debates how to develop the perfect system for all animals in the food chain.” None of these outbreaks has as yet actually cost New Zealand dearly, but the risk is ever present that one or other disease outbreak could do so at any time.

There’s no doubt New Zealand has been lucky so far and the longer we delay, the more chance there is of a disaster happening. It’s critical we get on with implementing mandatory traceability for cattle and deer as soon as possible, sticking to the present target dates and on no account letting these slip by another year. After all Ian Corney, Chairman of NAIT, has said to me more than once that Jim Anderton is determined there will be no disaster on his watch as Minister of Agriculture without a robust traceability system in place. That rather puts a time constraint of the 2008 election on NAIT getting its plans finalised and in operation.

NZFSA has said quite reasonably that the existing regulatory systems are sufficient to manage known food safety hazards effectively and traceability, as distinct from traceback, is not a food safety imperative. So you may well ask why it’s necessary in the first place, if our existing systems are adequate for the purpose. The initial pressure has come from regulatory authorities, specifically the EU and USDA which have been applying increasing pressure for over 20 years, but also from other trading partners which threaten to match whatever EU and USDA authorities require. It’s now as much about perception as reality, because the major markets’ regulatory authorities want to see hard evidence that New Zealand believes in the importance of guaranteeing food safety.

Pressure from major customers is also getting more vocal. Major retailers and restaurant chains increasingly demand guaranteed food safety for their consumers, as well as being in a position to have continuity of supply of wholesome product. It’s already several years since the technology has been available to the Japanese shopper to enter a product barcode into a touchscreen in a supermarket produce department, which takes them directly to the farm of origin. AsureQuality already has the technology enabling New Zealand suppliers to provide matching farm and producer data, but it’s only a short step to the point where the retailer wants to be able to provide evidence of traceability to the individual animal which produced the cut of meat. Although realistically it will be some time before they can provide a photo of the animal in its last happy moments before being loaded onto the stock truck!

Consumer fears are fanned by disease outbreaks, however small the risk of infection, and retailers or restaurant chains want to be able to assure them they have it under control. Emotion takes over from science very quickly, as illustrated by British, American and Asian response to BSE which possibly, but not conclusively, resulted in a very small number of cases of CJD. So it is important to get over the emotion and bring science based facts to the fore – and the best way our agricultural sector can do that is to accept animal ID and traceability as the most positive tool in our marketing box. It should not be about meeting the minimum regulatory requirements for market access, but about satisfying customer and consumer concerns.

Source and Trace system moves beyond basic animal traceability scheme

April 21, 2010

AngusPure Source and Trace (APST) is an interesting development in the whole complex matrix of animal identification and traceability which provides Angus breeders with a cost effective way of recording details of their herds for the combined purpose of stock management and herd improvement, while enhancing the industry leadership position of the AngusPure brand. But it’s important to recognise what the scheme aims to achieve and how it fits in with other traceability systems, specifically NAIT. (more…)