In a significant move to bolster the charitable initiatives of Meat The Need, Wayne Langford, the Golden Bay Dairy Farmer and co-founder, has announced his decision to step down from operational duties.
This strategic shift will enable Langford to focus on his role as the Federated Farmers President while continuing to contribute to the organization from a board position.
Meat The Need, a charitable organization founded in 2020 during the peak of COVID-19 lockdowns, was co-established by Langford and Siobhan O’Malley. The mission was simple yet impactful: to bridge the gap between farmers and food banks by facilitating donations of livestock and milk across the country. Over the last three years, the charity has made remarkable strides under Langford's guidance, providing essential sustenance to those in need.
Following his announcement, Langford expressed his pride in the organisation’s achievements.
“What started as a simple idea has now grown into providing 1.4 million meat meals and three million milk meals to people in need through more than 110 food banks across the country," he said.
He attributed this success to the collaborative efforts of Meat The Need and its partners, including renowned processors such as Silver Fern Farms, Miraka, Fonterra, and ANZCO.
The genesis of Meat The Need stemmed from a moment of realization for Langford and his family in 2019 when they donated mince to a local food bank. Struck by the impact such a donation could make, Langford felt a deep conviction to contribute more significantly. He emphasised the importance of connecting farmers with food banks.
“It was about building relationships with food banks, farmers, and processors and connecting the whole supply chain to ensure we could get a consistent supply to food banks.
"This is what we do as farmers, we feed our community and we’re making that connection through food.”
Beyond the meals provided, the charity’s influence has rippled through communities. An inspiring example was witnessed in the aftermath of the devastating Canterbury floods in May 2021. A farmer, who had previously donated animals, found his farm in ruins. Meat The Need, embodying the spirit of community, rallied volunteers from Christchurch City Mission men's shelter, the very individuals who had benefited from the farmer's donation. Together, they worked to restore the farmer's property, fostering a sense of gratitude and offering newfound opportunities to those in need.
Reflecting on Langford’s legacy, Meat The Need Board Chair Julia Jones expressed her deep gratitude for his vision and persistence.
“If it wasn’t for Wayne, we wouldn't have the opportunity to be working together, to do this mahi and be making a difference to people in need across the country.
"Wayne had a vision, the energy and the persistence to make it all happen.”
Looking ahead, the organisation remains committed to its mission under the guidance of the board and the imminent appointment of a new General Manager. Langford reiterated his unwavering commitment, emphasising the importance of the group's role in communities up and down the country.
“At the end of the day, if every farmer in New Zealand donated 0.1% of what they produce, we could feed New Zealand.”
As he transitions to his role on the board, Langford's dedication continues to shape the future of Meat The Need, ensuring that no one in New Zealand goes hungry.