Beef + Lamb NZ CEO on importance of celebrating rural industries

Beef + Lamb NZ CEO on importance of celebrating rural industries

Amidst the sizzle of barbecues and a festive environment, Dom George joins Kit Arkwright, the Chief Executive of Beef and Lamb New Zealand to capture the live atmosphere of Waimumu Southern Field Days on National Lamb Day. 

Together, they delve into the significance of National Lamb Day, an event commemorating the anniversary of New Zealand's first refrigerated meat exports, a milestone that significantly influenced the nation's economy and identity. Despite the drizzling weather, 

Arkwright expresses his contentment, finding solace in the cooler temperatures after a sweltering day in Dunedin. 

He humorously recounts the scene of locals wilting under the heat, juxtaposing it with the steady attendance at the field days. 

"I like a bit of drizzle," Arkwright admits, emphasising that the rain hasn't dampened the spirit of the attendees. 

The presence of notable figures like the Prime Minister and Michelin-starred chef Ethan Flack, alongside the delectable offerings of rad dad smash burgers, adds a touch of grandeur to the occasion. 

Arkwright shares the enthusiasm of the agricultural community, "We've got lots going on here," acknowledging the support from meat processors contributing to the day's success. Discussing the decision to shift National Lamb Day to February, Arkwright reveals the strategic move to enhance its impact among farmers and consumers. 

The change aligns with the Southern Field Days, creating a farmer-focused celebration that drives consumer sales. Highlighting the historical importance, Arkwright points out the remarkable fact that the innovation of refrigerated shipping is "the only Agricultural innovation that's had a measurable shift on GDP."

He shares an anecdote about the ship's journey, where the captain had to use 'number eight wire' ingenuity to keep the cargo frozen, exemplifying the Kiwi spirit of innovation. As they wrap up, Arkwright touches on Beef and Lamb New Zealand's upcoming initiatives, including an Olympic partnership featuring silver medalist Eddie Dawkins

"We're really building out that plans now," he says, outlining the focus for the year and emphasising the importance of promoting New Zealand's superior products. 

The conversation encapsulates the pride New Zealanders take in their agricultural heritage, the innovation that has shaped it, and the communal spirit that continues to thrive within the farming industry. 

As Arkwright puts it, "It's a great day to look back and just acknowledge the innovation that goes on in the sector."

The conversation ends with a call to celebrate by enjoying some of the nation's finest lamb, a fitting tribute to the roots of New Zealand's pastoral economy.

Listen to the full chat between Kit Arkwright and Dominic George above.

To check out more episodes listen to the REX Podcast anytime on your favourite streaming platforms including Spotify, Apple Music and Rova or tune in to REX Mornings live on Magic from 5 am to 6 am every weekday.

Visit the Rural Exchange Facebook or Instagram page for more information and regular updates from the REX team.