Executive Committee Update | Issue 195

Dec 14, 2023

Mark McCoard

With 2023 nearly at a close it is often timely to reflect on the season that has been with an eye to the future ahead. The combination of issues such as geopolitical risk, market access, government regulation and weather, may well be our new normal. With market access for frozen velvet into China the latest issue to navigate. The ability for our industry to prosper in this type of environment requires all parts to work at their best, while being as co-ordinated as possible.

The deer industry has just undertaken the largest restructure for many years and at times felt like certain areas had ground to a halt. We are now in the rebuilding phase and if the changes work as intended it will allow us to respond quickly and to prosper when other sectors may struggle, as we are currently witnessing. The deer industry is now achieving premium returns over other competing dry stock options, albeit at below the current cost of inflation. This is a window of opportunity to keep the foot on the accelerator and give farmers confidence to get more deer back behind fences that have been invaded by sheep and cattle.

The NZDFA Executive Committee has also had to ensure our organisation has remained well positioned to continue good deer farmer representation among the raft of changes that have been made. A new deer research structure has been created to replace the now disbanded Innovation Steering Groups. We are holding interviews this week for two positions to represent the NZDFA on this new six-person science advisory panel. The successful candidates will join two DINZ representatives and two industry experts in advising what science projects should be undertaken. Deer science has always played a key role in our industry and having representation on this panel will help ensure research undertaken delivers well for farmers. We have also just held interviews for the NZDFA representative on the OSPRI Stakeholders Council and would like to congratulate Craig North for his appointment to this position. I would like to thank all those who have put themselves forward for these roles as they play a pivotal part in our industry.

As mentioned earlier, and has been well signalled by DINZ, the importation of frozen velvet as a Traditional Chinese Medicine into China will cease after 30 April 2023. DINZ and MPI are working on alternative import arrangement for frozen velvet after this date, and while this creates some uncertainty for next season, much of the feedback has been that in the long term this will create more market access certainty and potentially open up other added value opportunities ahead. While all the relevant parties are working through the finer details, the advice we have been given is to keep informed through deer industry publications or discussions with industry representatives and your velvet buyer.

The planning for next season often starts for many with the January stag sales. This is not only a great opportunity to keep improving genetic gains and on farm performance, but also for deer farmers to enjoy the social contact aspect of the industry. The recent velvet competitions where the bar continues to be raised is invaluable for this also. The old adage of a “problem shared is a problem halved,” rings particularly true in these difficult and changeable times.

With Christmas and New Year fast approaching I wish you and your families well for the festive season ahead and hope some time off can be fitted into busy farm schedules.

 - Mark McCoard, Executive Committee Member          

Continue reading DFA Stagline Issue 195, next: What’s been happening around the country? >> 

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