24 Sep 2013

Farmers urged to support meat co-ops amid stock buying battle

12:54 pm on 24 September 2013

A farmer group campaigning for meat industy reform is urging farmers to keep supporting the co-operative processors and exporters by supplying them with stock.

Two big meat co-ops, Silver Fern Farms and Alliance, between them process more than half of all sheepmeat and more than a third of the beef.

The Meat Industry Excellence Goup is still waiting to hear whether they and other companies are making any progress in talks exploring options for making the industry more functional and profitable.

Whatever the outcome, the group believes that farmer-owned co-operatives hold the key to any breakthrough in industry reforms.

Chairman Richard Young of Southland says the group is sending a message to farmers to keep supporting the co-operatives as competition heats up for a reduced supply of lambs this year. Some buyers are offering above-schedule prices and advance payments to get stock.

''Farmer ownership is essential in moving our industry forward,'' he said.

Mr Young said the indications are the talks are progressing.