SFF gets to grips with changes
26th Nov 08, 1:10pm
The meat industry merger plans may be on hold, but Silver Fern Farms is changing how it operates. Its governance structure is up for review. The supply programme is being extended with locked-in future prices, and transport costs will be paid for by the processor. The former PPCS cooperative also intends to market itself as a global food brand. Discussion in the Pareora plant yesterday saw supplier farmers accepting the need for change writes The Timaru Herald. Chairman Eion Garden and chief executive Keith Cooper discussed possible governance changes as outlined under the proposed, but failed, partnership with PGG Wrightson. Mr Garden asked for feedback on options such as a smaller board or a mixed board with farmer-elected directors, shareholder-appointed directors and independent directors. Another possible change was a shareholder council. The "backbone" plan was a future-supply agreement, especially for during the winter. This was to extend the season, reduce processing congestion and utilise capacity. It meant farmers could lock in prices for some of their livestock for up to 12 months in advance. Farmers said that though year-long supply was good for marketing, keeping prime stock in winter wasn't easy. Mr Cooper said meat had to be sold, branded to the consumer in smaller portions at higher per-kilogram prices.