The New Zealand Meat Board (NZMB) has announced a significant funding boost for two major red meat sector projects.

The NZMB is to provide up to $700,000 to the ground-breaking Informing New Zealand Beef genetics project (INZB) and up to $1 million for the Eliminating Facial Eczema Impacts (EFEI) programme.

The decision follows consultation with sheep and beef farmers on the distribution of interest and dividends generated from the NZMB’s $79 million reserves fund towards industry good projects.

Kate Acland, chair of the NZMB, said the two projects will deliver significant benefits to red meat producers.

“This funding boost from the NZMB will help both INZB and EFEI drive major productivity gains behind the farm-gate for thousands of sheep, beef and dairy farmers across the country. This investment comes at a critical time for the sector, which is facing significant financial pressures.

“INZB is providing farmers with the beef genetics tools to help drive productivity and profitability on farm. It is on track to achieve its goals of boosting the sector’s profits by $460m over the next 25 years.

“The EFEI programme aims to equip farmers with tools, knowledge and solutions that can be adopted to combat a devastating livestock disease, and improve productivity in the red meat and dairy sectors.”

The NZMB does not identify or administer any research programmes, however it considers funding projects put forward by Beef + Lamb New Zealand, says Acland.

“The NZMB has three key roles. One is to achieve the best possible ongoing returns from sheepmeat and beef exports to international quota markets. It currently oversees $2.6 billion of red meat exports to the quota markets of the European Union, United Kingdom and United States, representing tariff savings of $934 million a year for the sector.

“It also administers significant farmer reserves, currently standing at $79 million, held as a contingency fund to help New Zealand to re-enter export markets in the event of a biosecurity incursion or disruption in quota markets.

“The NZMB allocates interest and dividends (after reserve expenses) from this fund, in consultation with farmers, for industry good projects like INZB and EFEI.”

Other projects supported through interest from the reserves over the past 20 years include major investment in sheep genetics, which has helped transform productivity, the pastoral genomics programme, early funding of the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) scheme, meat processing efficiency and meat product quality and the Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP).

More than 70 per cent of sheep and beef farmers who responded to the NZMB consultation supported continuing to fund the INZB. Over 75 per cent were in favour of providing up to $1 million towards the EFEI.

Kate Acland, NZMB Chair