Shearing the love

Relationships between the United States and New Zealand red meat sectors were strengthened further when US ambassador to NZ Scott Brown visited Wairarapa’s Palliser Ridge station last week.
Tuesday, 26 September 2017

The visit gave Brown an insight into NZ’s hill country farming systems and the challenges and opportunities facing this country’s sheep and beef farmers.

The visit to the 1300ha, 12000 stock unit south Wairarapa property, which is managed by Kurt Portas, came three months after Portas visited the US, representing NZ as part of the Tri-Lamb Group.

This group is a collaborative initiative between lamb producer organisations, (including Beef+ Lamb New Zealand) from the US, Australia and NZ. It aims to encourage young leaders from the three countries to share ideas, network and to broaden understanding of sheep production across the three countries.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) chairman James Parsons, B+LNZ Director George Tatham, ANZCO Foods CEO Peter Conley and B+LNZ trade policy advisor Swetta Magan were part of the contingent hosting Brown on Palliser Ridge.

Parsons says the visit was opportunity to highlight the importance of working collaboratively with the US sheep and beef industries.

“We have a very good relationship with the US beef industry where we have often worked together to resolve market access issues in third-party countries.

“We reinforced to the Ambassador there are many areas of common interest between the US and New Zealand in both the sheep and beef sectors to increase productivity, consumption and address trade issues.”

Portas believed the US lamb market is very much untouched territory, with US lamb consumption sitting at 0.4kg per person per year.

Education, he says, is going to be the key to growing this market.

“The US is very keen to keep working with us to help sell lamb and get the education out there.”

While consumption is low, lamb is the fastest growing protein category and is particularly popular in ethnic communities.

Brown’s visit to Palliser Ridge included a farm tour, clay-bird shooting and Brown trying his hand at sheep-shearing.