DINZ restructures to be ‘fit-for-purpose’

May 19, 2023

DINZ is changing to meet the new environment it is facing and to create a fit-for-purpose industry-good organisation to serve the sector, DINZ chief executive Innes Moffat told the Deer Industry Conference audience.

Innes Moffat spoke at conference. His message was clear: “farmers needs are at the heart of everything we do.”

To thrive, deer farmers need “profit, pride and confidence in the future,” he said. “I know that we are not thriving. The hind kill is up, the breeding herd is shrinking.”

While velvet has been growing five percent year-on-year every year over the past decade, DINZ is budgeting on a venison kill of 260,000 deer next year.

“We need to adapt to reducing revenue, changing farmer requirements and greater emphasis on new market development,” he explained.

He was clear, “farmers’ needs are at the heart of everything we do.” Plans have been drawn up to ensure DINZ “lives within its means and to ensure velvet and venison expenditure balance income.”

DINZ’ focus now is on “doing fewer things, better,” he said, a message that was generally well received by those at conference.

From now, work will be carried out in five key areas: advocacy and government relations; market access and development; industry practice and capability; research and insights in deer farming and production; and supporting and partnering with NZDFA, “working together to benefit deer farmers.”

With P2P ending, extension and farm planning activities are being stepped down, along with some DeerPRO activities, “but we will not take our eye off Johne’s monitoring,” he assured. Local market development activities will also be scaled back.

Recognising some changes to the organisation, Moffat noted venison marketing manager Nick Taylor, P2P project manager Rob Aloe and DeerPRO manager Solis Norton have already departed, while farm performance manager Phil McKenzie will leave at the end of May.

New market development manager Rhys Griffiths will take on responsibility in the venison marketing area, as well as velvet. Additional support will be provided for the marketing function with the appointment of a marketing assistant.

Sara Elmes, previously environmental stewardship manager, has been appointed as project manager industry capability to take on DINZ’s work with farmer groups. A new office manager Helen Montgomery starts in a fixed-term appointment this week, to ensure office systems are efficient.

Recruitment is now underway for a new environmental stewardship manager.

In June, the DINZ team will be moving into a smaller office, co-shared with Beef + Lamb NZ, in the same building in Wellington.

More changes will be announced in coming weeks and Moffat acknowledged there will be: “disruptions to some of the services we provide you over the next few months as we bed in new faces and new ways of working.”

The next step will be a review of the current service agreement between DINZ and NZDFA to “ensure that together we are meeting the needs of deer farmers,” he says.

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