Executive Committee Update | Issue 200

Jun 7, 2024

Executive Committee Report

After the recent cold blast left a trail of snow on the mountains and hills around the country, it is a stark reminder that we are now officially in winter. Feeding out is now in full swing for many and for those in the drought affected areas it will certainly be a case of ground hog day. We can only hope the winter is mild one and spring arrives early. 

This time of year, is also a busy one for the deer industry off farm. The Hawkes Bay branch recently hosted the deer industry for a very successful three days that contained the NZDFA Branch Chairs meeting and AGM, Deer Industry Conference and awards dinner, followed by a field day kindly hosted by Ru and Kate Gaddam's on their east Tikokino property. The feedback we have been receiving has been positive and that it struck a good balance of content for those who attended for all, or part of the event. We were certainly well entertained throughout by the keynote speaker and new NZDFA life member Murray Matuschka . A big thanks must go to all those who contributed to making it a success, particularly to Evan Potter and his Hawkes Bay branch team.

An important part of the event is the constitutional requirements for the NZDFA and is where any changes on the Executive Committee take effect. Following the AGM I have stepped into the Chair role for the year ahead, replacing Justin Stevens who will remain on the committee. The other change was the inclusion of Evan Potter to replace Jamie Ward who has stepped down. The past two years have seen significant restructuring changes within DINZ for the NZDFA to navigate through. I want to thank Justin for his efforts leading us through these changeable times and Jamie whose energy and insights provided us with a different perspective on so many issues. I feel very fortunate to have the capability and support of Justin Stevens, Karen Middelberg and Evan Potter on the committee to represent the interests of deer farmers for the year ahead. When combined with the Producer Management team of Lindsay Fung and Louise Balkam we will certainly be focusing on playing our part on getting the deer industry growing once again.

There were two remits that were tabled and supported at the NZDFA AGM that require the Executive Committee to continue to seek answers and outcomes for deer farmers. The first was tabled by Mark Tapley on behalf of the South Canterbury North Otago branch regarding the failures within the NAIT system and seeking a halt to the subsequent fines farmers were receiving until the system failures are resolved. Mark has directly displayed to NAIT staff how these failures are occurring. We have been encouraging deer farmers from all regions affected by these issues to contact our OSPRI representative Craig North (027 4730864) so the issues at a national level can be understood. Justin Steven’s is looking to join forces with both Mark and Craig in a collective attempt to resolve this issue for deer farmers that the remit is seeking to achieve. 

The second remit was tabled by John Sommerville on behalf of the Southland branch. In short, they are concerned with the current DINZ/AgResearch relationship following the decision to end the Independant Steering Groups (ISG) in September last year. They are seeking clarification surrounding the process that DINZ undertook that initiated these changes. Also been sought is what new relationship/partnership is currently being discussed with AgResearch and what specific projects and scientific and financial resources will be available to benefit the deer industry and its farmers. We have emailed the board seeking answers to the questions raised by the remit and will update you as soon as that information is provided.

I wish you all well for the winter months ahead and hope the budgeted firewood a feed supplies get you through until the much-awaited spring.

Mark McCoard
NZDFA Chair  

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