Silver Fern Farms farmers' vote on the proposed joint venture with Shanghai Maling could be the last significant issue they get to vote on, Meat Industry Excellence (MIE) chairman Peter McDonald says.
Farmers have until 10.30am on Wednesday to vote on whether the joint venture company should proceed, with the results expected to be released on Friday.
Mr McDonald said Silver Fern Farms had a long, proud history as a farmer-owned and controlled co-operative which would end abruptly if the venture proceeded.
"We believe in MIE that the heart of this is really about the future control of our red meat industry," he said.
"We believe what is escaping most people is this joint venture is not solely around profitability, it's really about security of supply for future into China for Shanghai Maling.
"So when we talk about product flows that is the prime motivation we believe and there's plenty of evidence to back that up."
Mr McDonald encouraged farmers to read the detail of the proposed agreement and vote.