South Island farmer Kate Acland has been appointed Chair of the New Zealand Meat Board (NZMB).

Ms Acland, who joined the NZMB Board in 2021, takes over from Andrew Morrison, whose term concluded after serving on the board since 2014. She is the NZMB’s first female chair.

“I’m proud to have the opportunity to chair this organisation, which has played such a vital role in New Zealand’s red meat sector for over 100 years and continues to do so today,” said Ms Acland.

“That includes overseeing $2.3 billion of red meat exports to the quota markets of the European Union, United Kingdom and the United States, a function that is to expand further into administering the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) quotas between the UK and New Zealand.

“Another important responsibility of the Board is managing the farmer livestock reserves, the ‘rainy day’ contingency fund, which would help New Zealand to re-enter export markets following a biosecurity incursion or disruption to quota markets.

“The fund currently stands at $77 million and NZMB is responsible for managing that prudently and channelling the interest from the reserves into funding industry-good projects.

“Over the years, this has included sheep genetics, pastoral genomics, market development, and most recently, the Informing New Zealand (INZB) beef genetics programme, which is giving farmers the right genetic tools to help them produce great-tasting beef and drive production efficiency on farm.

“The NZMB is pleased to continue supporting the INZB programme by providing up to $1.4 million for the project after concluding consultation with farmers. More than 620 responses were received and 68 per cent supported NZMB continuing to back INZB.

“We believe this is a prudent investment for the good of the beef sector and is laying the groundwork for the work B+LNZ is already doing in dairy beef and with bobby calves.”

Ms Acland was elected Chair of Beef + Lamb New Zealand last month.

She and her husband David farm sheep, beef, deer and dairy. They employ 30 staff across a range of businesses including Mt Somers Station, where they also have a standalone 400-hive honey operation set in 500 hectares of native vegetation and beech forest.

Prior to joining her husband in his family farming operation, Ms Acland developed her own vineyard and winery (Sugar Loaf Wines in Marlborough).

She has a bachelor’s degree in Viticulture and Oenology and a master’s degree in Applied Science, majoring in Farm Management Consultancy from Lincoln University.

Farmers voting at the Annual Meeting supported the reappointment of KPMG as auditor but did not support an increase in annual director fees (Chair $31,515 from $29,900 and directors $17,705 from $16,800) with 53 per cent voting against. As a result, the director fees will not increase.