Low input, high-value output is the essence of a new farming initiative launched in Northland this week to supply the American pharmaceutical industry with bovine material. In what is a first for New Zealand, local elders are impressed with the sustainable farming protocols that form a key aspect of the criteria.
Te Raa Nehua of the Ngāti Hau people of Whakapara says the criteria for closed herds to ward of disease and pathogens is the future of beef and cattle farming in this country, "It promotes the sustainable use of the land and the environment by everyone working the land. The effects of high-intensity farming have been a concern for many years and this gives us the opportunity to turn the corner from the predominant farming model to a sustainable option."
The model allows for low stocking rates and low inputs into the cattle and the land but the market is a high-value speciality model.
Te Warahi Hetaraka from Ngati Wai says, "I think this is a very important initiative because it can benefit all of us and more so the land and our environment and it will increase knowledge on the sustainable use of our natural resources."
Hori Parata who is also of the Ngati Wai decent, says, "Whats most important here is that this option provides for the health of our lands and the health of the people. And hence we're here to be informed on this option with the focus on prosperity for our children and future generations."
Farmers will be able to put the high returns from the supply of material to the pharmaceutical industry back into their lands to address the environment issues that are prevalent under the high-intensity farming model.
Hinemaua Rikirangi from the Ministry of Primary Industries says, "It will enable the industry to change from the predominant farming practices to clean up the land and all waterways rivers and estuaries. That's the real benefit of this model that's started here in Northland."
It's still only early days but Te Raa Nehua says it's of utmost importance that the whole industry works as one to realise the full the benefits of the project.
"We all need to work together on this intiative the respective tribes and farming communities European and Maori for the benefit of all. This project is not just for Maori but for all the peoples of New Zealand."