The Government is backing Spring Sheep Milk Company in a new $19.94 million programme to expand the dairy sheep supplier base into new regions.
The Scale Up partnership follows a successful six-year Primary Growth Partnership, Sheep Horizon Three.
With strong customer demand for sheep milk globally, additional growth in the number of farmers will be required.
Spring Sheep currently has 16 supplier farmers.
To support this growth, the Scale Up programme will foster expansion of the dairy sheep in new regions of New Zealand starting with Taranaki.
The Taranaki region is well suited to dairy sheep farming and shares close proximity to existing industry manufacturing capability.
Spring Sheep will work closely with regional partners Parininihi ki Waitōtara (PKW), who have the necessary whenua and capacity to bring a new industry to life in this region.
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Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says it’s time to tap into the great value the industry can bring.
“This potential industry could be worth more than $750m in annual export receipts by 2035, which means good things for our farmers and our economic security.
“New Zealand is in demand globally as our brand for sustainably produced food and fibre is highlighted through our reconnecting work and active trade agenda, and the Government is backing both established and fledgling primary industries to support our economic recovery.”
Spring Sheep chief executive Nick Hammond says the programme is incredibly exciting for the industry.
“We are thrilled to be entering this next phase of growth in conjunction with MPI and are particularly excited to be launching sheep milking into the Taranaki region.
“The Scale Up programme is absolutely critical to setting the industry up for success over coming years, working right across the value chain from global market development to farming insights across New Zealand.
“It is fantastic to work with experts, from farmers to scientists and manufacturers and who are embracing this emerging industry and joining us on the journey as we deliver quality New Zealand sheep milk to the world.”
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The Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures progamme is delivered through the Ministry for Primary Industries.
The Scale Up programme includes a workstream for farmer-led research and development projects across the country’s established producers which will deliver improved industry knowledge and foster the development of best-practice standards.
A dairy sheep training module will also be established to upskill the required workforce to support growth across the regions.