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CENTRAL SOUTH ISLAND FARMER
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Farmers get insight to Asian market
EXPECTING VISITORS: Blair and Jane Smith, last year's winners of Ballance
Farm Environment Awards, recently returned from a 16-day tour of South Korea,
China and Taiwan. They are pictured with Charlotte, Henry and baby George.
OTAGO SHEEP and beef farmers
Blair and Jane Smith suspect that
they will receive a visitor from
Taiwan within the next five years.
Not an exchange student, nor
family friend. Rather, the chief
executive of one of Taiwan s most
successful beef distribution and
As winners of last year s Bal-
lance Farm Environment Awards
the Smiths recently returned from
a 16-day tour of South Korea,
China and Taiwan.
The industry-supported trip
had two objectives: exposing the
winning farmers to the market-
place, its consumers and industry
representatives, and introducing
importers and retailers to the
Smiths, who -- through their win --
showcase New Zealand agricult-
The couple carried photos of
their farm with them, which they
would show to people they met.
Blair says the best reaction was
from a Taiwanese distributor-
We had a one-hour meeting,
but it went for two-and-a-half
hours. He kept looking at the pic-
tures and had question upon ques-
tion. We were thinking that he d
love to come over and go around
our farm, so we invited him. I
guarantee that within five years
we will get a knock at the door
and he ll be there.
Blair says the trip was an
opportunity to see how New Zea-
land is represented in the market.
As a farmer, you always think
New Zealand is a leader in safe
food . Going over there and seeing
it through the consumers eyes --
having people saying how aware
they are of New Zealand -- we
really do have that reputation. If
New Zealand is stamped on
something, it s considered safe,
healthy and produced in a
We saw and heard that senti-
ment throughout the trip and
across all three countries.
Blair says he was pleasantly
surprised to see the role Beef +
Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ)
plays in the marketplace.
I m on the Central South
Island Farmer Council, but I have
wondered how Beef + Lamb imple-
ments its crucial role in the over-
seas market. What I saw them
doing overseas -- with limited
budget -- showed me that we are
definitely getting good bang for
our buck, he said.
The personalised contact that
Beef + Lamb facilitate with key
players in the market is crucial to
our success there as exporters.
They are not only marketing the
New Zealand concept, but spend
time educating retailers and their
consumers on the merits of grass-
fed, sustainably produced prod-
Blair noted that B+LNZ s
grass-fed beef logos had particu-
larly good brand recognition
everywhere they went.
The logos -- which vary in look
from country to country -- have
been introduced to promote New
Zealand beef as being natural,
nutritious and safe.
Taiwan s population eats an
average of 5 kilograms of beef per
capita per year and this tends to
be mainly higher-value cuts.
Koreans eat an average of 10kg
of generally medium-value cuts.
China s average consumption is
4kg and tends to be traditionally
lower-value cuts of lamb, mutton
Jane says it was interesting
that the lower-value cuts were not
so much about price, but more
about what was desirable within a
particular culture. In China, it
happens to be the cuts we in New
Zealand find less common. They
think it s odd that we put a big
roast leg in the oven each
A highlight for the Smiths was
lunch with 40 Taiwanese fans of
New Zealand beef. The lunch was
the result of a Facebook compe-
tition run by B+LNZ.
They are brand-hungry con-
sumers; it s all about brand.
There is the younger gener-
ation coming through and social
media is good way to get through
to them. It was eerily quiet in
public places because people were
zoned in on their phones.
Jane says three elements came
through in each country: the
importance of a safe food source,
strong relationships, and security
Shed panels could see
more on-farm solar use
THE WESTPAC / Meridian Energy
Solar Shed initiative, based on 40x
250W Renesola panels, has been
welcomed by Federated Farmers.
As a user of solar power myself, it
is an effective technology for supply-
ing power to remote areas in a cost-
effective manner, Federated Far-
mers energy spokesman Anders
Being an early adopter of solar
technology, the Solar Shed initiative
. . . will help to ease the initial cost
At Castlepoint Station we use
solar to power radio communications
and wireless broadband over 3700ha.
With my Federated Farmers hat
on, I can see dairy farmers looking to
use the roof expanse of their milking
sheds for solar panels. The same
applies to other heavy energy users
such as arable farms and large sheep
and beef stations like Castlepoint.
If a farm s electricity bill is over
$1000 each month then the Solar
Shed initiative may suit your busi-
ness. You don t even have to bank
with Westpac to take it up. To find
out more either call 0800 177 155 or
if you are a Westpac customer, speak
to your agribusiness manager.
The technology works and the
Solar Shed initiative will now bring
solar within the reach of many far-
mers, Mr Crofoot said.
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