Fresh from the Deer Industry Roadshow in Central Otago and Wynton, Deer Industry News Editor Lynda Gray gave REX host Dominic George her in-depth analysis of how the industry is adjusting to reduced levy income and current market prices for venison and velvet.
"The industry has downsized for the meantime, so there's less levy income," she explained.
"This is our strategy, this is how we're going to work smarter and, yeah, with a leaner organization."
Despite the reduced income, the deer industry remains resilient, with venison holding its ground in the market. Matt Gibson of First Light painted a promising picture of market diversification and expanding retail avenues, suggesting these factors are offering much-needed buoyancy to the industry. Gray was equally optimistic about this evolution.
"All the marketers have been really great at diversifying their markets in recent years and also diversifying the channels."
But the deer industry isn't just about venison. Gray also discussed the intricate demand for velvet, revealing how New Zealand has been successful in developing new health-food products.
"We've done a really good job of branding that and there are a lot of great products and there is the demand," she noted.
Gray shifted the conversation to the pressing issue of freshwater plans for farmers. The complexity and costs associated with these plans are causing ripples of concern across the nation, but Gray is optimistic about overcoming these hurdles.
She expressed concern over the lack of certified plan writers and auditors currently available, as well as the high cost that farmers may face.
"It could be anywhere between $5,000 and $10,000 for a freshwater farm plan."
"Several people have said I'm really concerned that there aren't going to be the people out there to do what they're supposed to do to go and certify and audit those plans."
Despite these challenges, Gray remained hopeful, advocating for farmers to stay informed and seek resources that can help clarify the new measures.
Listen to the full chat between Deer Industry News Editor Lynda Gray and Dominic George above.