Feb 3, 2022
Deer farmers want to be recognised for meeting society’s expectations on environmental management, product stewardship and quality. Some deer farmers want deeper links with deer industry customers. In order to adapt to the ever changing demands being placed on farmers, some could benefit from guidance on strategic and business planning, and everybody needs to continue to be able to make best use of the productivity improvement technologies and developments that are coming thick and fast. And venison production needs a step change upward in profitability.
These are the key messages DINZ and the P2P Advisory Group have been hearing as significant opportunities for the deer industry as we build the case for government co-funding of a potential successor programme to the P2P when the funding round finishes at the end of September this year. This update covers the work of the on-farm programme, and there is a parallel project underway to develop a new marketing programme.
The P2P Advisory group focuses on-farm objectives and has a core group that has been looking at a new programme. The core group has a broad group of representatives of the DFA, DINZ Board and farmers and rural professionals, and has been meeting regularly to help develop what a new programme might look like.
As with the current P2P it is being farmer led with what is being developed. Every chance has been taken to gather and test ideas from and with farmers. Covid lockdowns have not helped this process, however, it has been amazing to see what has been achieved to date. Several conversations have been held with the DFA Executive, and there was an online workshop with the DFA Branch Chairs.
Seven years on from when P2P started, the World is quite a different place. The productivity of our animals and profitability of our farms remains important and will still be core to a new programme. However, we are being asked as farmers to do and prove more than was asked for in the past, and a new programme is focusing on these additional areas. To have a chance at new funding we need to extend into new areas.
The environment is something the Deer Industry has been focused on for some time and there has been outstanding progress on many farms, and we need to keep up that momentum particularly with areas like greenhouse gases, essential fresh water and biodiversity. We have a good story to tell and a new programme could help us deliver that better.
Combining our environmental work into our whole farm systems productivity and business profitability and integrating that through to market is something we are getting better at. With funding and resourcing it could enable us to go wider and deeper with more farmers. The DFA plays a key role which is why they remain a key partner for any new programme.
We are at the stage now with both the on-farm and marketing programmes where we are talking with MPI to see what is the best approach to take for a funding application. MPI have been key partners in the current P2P and remain very supportive of a new application for funding. They recognise the success of the farmer led P2P programme and expertise that has been developed.
We don’t know yet whether we will be successful with new funding. Regardless of the outcome the industry will keep supporting deer farmers, a new programme would just enable us to provide even more, and to more farmers.