Thursday, April 25, 2024

SFF assures farmers lobbying is under way

Neal Wallace
Silver Fern Farms chief executive Simon Limmer says the soaring carbon price is a concern that he has raised with Climate Change Minister James Shaw.
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FARMERS have been assured Silver Fern Farms (SFF) management are lobbying the Government on their behalf but are doing so behind the scenes.

SFF chair Rob Hewett told shareholders in a virtual roadshow they understood and appreciate the pressure facing suppliers from new legislation and land-use change to forestry and they have voiced those concerns to ministers and department officials.

“There are issues inside the farm gate, such as the number of legislative requirements, coming at us like a freight train,” Hewett said.

He urged farmers to engage in projects like the primary industry’s climate change commitment, He Waka Eke Noa or know your carbon emission number, saying doing so gave farmers options and choices.

Hewett says another response for processors was to deliver returns for meat that were competitive with options such as forestry.

“If we are not competitive in the marketplace we can’t pay a competitive price to our supplies which makes land-use change a real alternative for landowners,” he said.

Asked about the impact on livestock farming from a soaring carbon price, chief executive Simon Limmer says it is a concern, which he has raised with Climate Change Minister James Shaw.

While policy settings have to be right, Limmer says to be credible the industry needs to have its house in order in meeting challenges such as greenhouse gas emission targets.

SFF has employed two staff who have previously worked in Wellington for Government departments, which Limmer says strengthens their connections with central Government.

Limmer told shareholders that financially the business continued to perform strongly, was trading ahead of budget and on track for a fifth successive year of profits.

This was being achieved despite shipping costs rising 50% in six months and logistical issues.

In 18 months, shipping reliability has fallen from meeting schedules 90% of the time to 20% currently.

This year, SFF invested $62 million in capital expenditure, taking the level of investment to $200m in the past five years.

Limmer says it has also increased by 24% the value added premiums paid for qualifying livestock.

Capital expenditure included installing safety bandsaws across all plants, which has meant users of the machinery have been injury-free in the past 12 months, and $17m in the marshalling yards at Pacific Meat to enable easier logistics in consigning meat.

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