Executive Committee Report | Issue 175

Mar 4, 2022

The cooler evenings and stags roaring remind us that we are now officially in autumn. Nearly all regions received good February rains which has certainly put most of us on the front foot, with the notable exception being Southland. We can only hope the weather plays the game with planning for the winter ahead.   

It is positive to see the lift in the venison schedule since the beginning of the year. Exporters are reporting price increases and strong demand across all markets, with North America leading the way. After two years of being in the doldrums farmers now have some upbeat financial news to combine with good on farm breeding results. The feedback we have been receiving following tagging is the fawning percentage and stock quality has been high. With the weaner sales approaching and so many on farm management decisions being undertaken at this time of year it is great for farmers to have the positives noted to help support the annual decisions ahead. A strong weaner sale season will be an important component for many farmers when considering breeding hind numbers to be retained for the year ahead.

The world around us is certainly becoming increasingly turbulent, both internationally and domestically. It becomes very easy to get overwhelmed by the list of issues surrounding us and put our heads in the sand and hope it will go away or perhaps keeping the beer fridge well stocked for the sunny days is the preferred option. We have learnt from recent adverse weather events that farmers, their families, and communities need to keep supporting each other, particularly given the additional isolation the Omicron outbreak has created.

On the domestic front, the He Waka Eke Noa consultation process currently underway is likely to form the most impactful piece of legislation farmers will deal with in a generation. Sadly, most of the discussions that have formed the current options 1 & 2 were undertaken behind closed doors and leaves very little time for farmers to get their heads around the implications and provide informed feedback. These tight timelines, made worse by the Omicron outbreak, have been largely politically driven around the election cycle. A rushed decision of this magnitude for the farming sector that will also heavily influence New Zealand’s economic future is hard to fathom.

On the back of these concerns the NZDFA Executive Committee joined forces with other concerned farmers within the sheep and beef sector. All deer farmers should have received an email signed by John Sommerville that contained our position and changes we are attempting to achieve to option 1 (on farm option). We believe that if option 1 is transformed it will allow farmers to have more control over their farming futures and we urge you all to get an understanding of the impact the different options will have on your farming futures. We are also using other rural media to spread our thoughts and encourage as many farmers as possible to provide feedback to the He Waka Eke Noa office before Sunday 17th March 2022. This will be one of the last opportunity we have as farmers to consult and provide feedback on the future direction of this legislation.

The other deadline looming is for the nominations for the DINZ Board, DFA Selection and Appointments panel (SAP) and DFA Executive Committee. All these positions influence the direction of our industry so please shoulder tap or consider putting yourselves forward before 5pm March 25th 2022.

I wish you all well for the season ahead.

- Mark McCoard, NZDFA Executive Committee

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