Exploring The Past, Present + Future Of Deer Farming

Exploring The Past, Present + Future Of Deer Farming

The deer industry and deer farmers descended on Napier last week for the annual conference which attracted 175 participants. 

The theme, "an incredible legacy: the past, the present, the future," was emphasised by the acting CEO and Board Chair, Mandy Bell. She reviewed the industry's accomplishments and introduced a new five-year strategy. 

The conference featured breakout sessions on genetics, environmental stewardship, and new forage practices, with the aim to encourage sheep and beef farmers to consider deer farming Lynda Gray, the editor of Deer Industry News NZ explains. 

"What he put together was some comparison gross margins for sheep, beef, and deer, and what he was saying is that, hey, if you're a sheep and beef farmer on a farm with some existing deer infrastructure... Have a look at these gross margins for venison," she says. 

The conversation also celebrates the appointment of Mark McCord as the new Deer Farmers Association president and honours Murray Matuschka with a life membership for his lifetime dedication to the industry. 

"He stood up at about four o'clock, which is, you know, it's never a good time to have to stand up and speak... He had the crowd spellbound with many, many colourful anecdotes not all of them deer farming related, and a few off-colour jokes," Gray explains.

A field trip to Rangimoe Station showcases the Gaddum family's commitment to deer farming across five generations. The family's efforts in riparian planting and aspirations to expand deer farming operations are discussed as exemplary of the legacy theme. 

As for the future of the industry, the conversation touches on the importance of understanding and developing new value chains, particularly for venison and velvet. 

The conversation paints a picture of an industry steeped in tradition yet actively pursuing innovation and growth, with a strong community at its heart.

Listen to the full chat between Lynda Gray and Dominic George above.

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