Saturday, September 8, 2018

Beef and Lamb Levy increases, how they are used and what will they achieve?

I have been visiting ram clients recently and had a fair number of discussions about these levies, the plight of our wool industry, the threat of artificial meat and of course the weather!.  On top of this I have taken the time to read Beef and lamb’s (“BLNZ”) reports on alternative proteins, future of red meat and environment strategy among others.  Well worth a read, but there is a lot to digest.

We have recently been advised that the increase in levies  will be invested in accelerating four key programmes: the international activation of the Taste Pure Nature origin brand and the Red Meat Story, helping the sector lift its environmental performance and reputation, telling the farmer story better, and strengthening B+LNZ’s capability to address biosecurity risks.”

Two of these programs; those within in New Zealand’s borders, I am sure they can affect change and indeed the environment strategy report details how and what they want to do.   The reason being these are internal matters within New Zealand borders, a small market, known participants, almost all are aware of what the issues are and the need to address them, the questions are simply what needs to be done, how and when.
However I somewhat skeptical regarding “the international activation of the Taste Pure Nature origin brand and the Red Meat Story” and I have read the levy proposal document and looked for much more detail as to how they propose to utilise the proposed budget of $9 million.  $9 million sounds like a lot but in reality it’s a drop in the bucket and I just can’t see how BLNZ think it will influence or change demand globally, without a lot of luck!!!   I would assert that you need hundreds of millions a year over many years to successfully increase market awareness of New Zealand Red Meat globally and accordingly anything less is just a waste of their time and our money.

Note in “telling the Farmer Story better” which from my reading of BLNZ literature is to do with surveying public perceptions and tracking over time if there any improvements: again if this is within New Zealand, I would expect this to be worthwhile, but if not then it is simply wasting more of our levy money because if you are simply peeing in the sea, then realistically there is no change to measure.

Note I did qualify my view with the words “without a lot of luck”.  The reason being in my view the only way to gain traction worldwide with a very limited budget is to use social media.
If BLNZ create a modern up to date trendy page that regularly post relevant articles, videos, events and information relating to the clean green environment of New Zealand, how we farm, scientific benefits of eating red meat, carbon foot prints, negative articles regarding synthetic meat (it may not be the panacea as some champion it to be) etc.  I have read a number of articles (independent or biased I don’t know) suggesting synthetic meats may not be better for the environment.   Similarly there must be issues about the chemicals required to culture meat from stem cells. 

Some articles will be funny, some horrendous, some only informational, but given millennials, from my reading of BLNZ’s literature, are the big players in the future of our industry and as I understand the big users of social media, this is the forum you focus on and with a lot of luck, you just might get some world penetration for $9 million.   There is a lot of information that could be posted on a Taste Pure Nature New Zealand Facebook page.  I would follow such a page and share anything worth reading. 
BLNZ needs to have someone dedicated to keep abreast of all the topics, research etc. and posting them and hopefully some will go viral.  They might even have to commission research. 

Perhaps this is already BLNZ’s strategy and I just couldn’t find it, but after visiting BLNZ Facebook page where it primarily has various recipes on how to cook various meat dishes, I doubt it; as I won’t be rushing back to visit that page or become a follower of it. 

I am not a millennial, but I am on Facebook and I went to watch the Taste Pure Nature video and thought I would share it on Facebook, but couldn’t (not easily) and it should be.

Finally this brilliant Taste Pure Nature social media page I am suggesting should also promote wool; wool is on the back of the lamb.   The virtues of wool being sustainable, better for the environment then nylons, plastics etc. (a fairly easy argument to win) ties in well with the theme of this page.   Clearly crossbred wool is in the doldrums at the moment and as a broker recently told me we need the global view on wool to change, not simply a few people or countries, so we need luck to make this happen