The heart of the strategy, set by Beef + Lamb NZ (B+LNZ) and the Meat Industry Association (MIA), is to generate sustainable profits, premium value, vibrant communities and to be trusted guardians.
Sustainable profits will come from greater innovation, performance and productivity; premium value from creating and capturing value; vibrant communities from economic growth and employment; and trusted guardianship from being guardians of reputation, animals, water and land.
The latest strategy follows the Red Meat Sector Strategy from 2011 and establishes the priorities B+LNZ and the MIA will work on with industry partners over the next five years.
“We have set our sights on greater profitability, sustainability and resilience,” B+LNZ chair Andrew Morrison said.
“We are seeking increased value for our customers and consumers and greater social and economic benefits for Aotearoa.
“Enhanced integrity, trust and reputation will help achieve our goals.”
MIA chair John Loughlin says the strategy captures the work the sector is already doing and the opportunities that will build its future through market position, innovation and sustainability.
“Market position is about enhanced market access for our products worldwide, assurance, differentiation, product benefits and attributes,” Loughlin said.
“Our innovation work stream will look at future processing plants, future farms, future products, data integration and traceability.
“Sustainability will drive the sector’s investment in people, reputation, environment, biosecurity and animal care.”
Some specific goals to achieve by 2025 include having farm assurance programmes for all beef and lamb production and for Taste Pure Nature to be delivering increased returns.
The plan also calls for the Pasture Raised Advantage Nutrition study to provide greater knowledge about red meat by 2025, and for farmers and processors to be rewarded by consumers for improvements to the eating quality of meat.
Innovation by that date will hopefully develop a hands-free meat inspection platform and provide consumers with meat that has specific attributes.
All Animal Status Declaration (ASD) forms will be electronically tracked and allow product to be traced back to the individual animal and its farm of birth.
Every sheep and beef farm will have an active farm plan by 2025, which will cover water, climate change and biodiversity.
Farms and processors will also have a biosecurity plan.
In the eight financial years since the last strategy in 2011, gross farm revenue per ha has increased from $670 to $908, earnings before interest and tax from $112,240 to $172,100 and total sheep and beef exports have grown from $6.8 billion to $91b.
The document points out further gains.
Sector greenhouse gas emissions have been cut by more than 30% since 1990 and between 63% and 118% of remaining emissions have been offset by sequestration from 2.8m ha of native and exotic, woody vegetation on farms.
The document claims nitrogen leaching rates on sheep and beef farms are, on average, the lowest of any form of food production while the sector’s main impact on water quality are E.coli, sediment, phosphorus and from winter grazing.
While there are issues still needing to be addressed, the document says nearly all indicators have been improving.
Global concern about the amount of land used for livestock production and deforestation, is not applicable to NZ’s sheep and beef industry.
Since 1990, the area used for sheep and beef production has shrunk by 4.3 million hectares to 8.2m ha, of which 93% is unsuitable for cropping or horticulture as it is rolling or too steep.
The document also notes the size of the industry.
It supports 92,000 jobs, is the country’s largest manufacturing industry and second largest goods exporter, generating about 16% of NZ export revenue.