24 Jan 2011

Stock agents likely targets of red meat strategy

7:25 am on 24 January 2011

Stock agents could be the first casualty of a new strategy designed to improve the red meat sector.

Preliminary findings from the strategy, which will be presented to industry at a series of meetings starting on Monday, show that stock and station agents are costing the industry too much money.

The strategy is being facilitated by accountancy firm Deloitte on behalf of the industry and Government.

A Deloitte senior partner, Alasdair MacLeod, says three key areas have already been identified as requiring immediate change.

This includes changing the way farmers run their businesses and sell stock, as well as the price that meat companies are paying for stock and how they are marketing New Zealand meat overseas.

Mr MacLeod says the costs imposed on the industry by stock agents appear to be significantly greater than the benefits that accrue from their involvement.

He says when it was discussed with farmers, it was surprising that very few of them had accrued how much stock agents were costing them on an annual basis.

Mr MacLeod says this shouldn't come as a surprise to stock and station agents and there's scope for improvement.

He says the aim of the meetings is to road-test these key findings with farmers and industry members, before the strategy is finalised at the end of March.