Peter Kerr says because we have not yet claimed our story, we are getting under-paid and under-appreciated for our unique seasonal grazing methods. Agree?

By Peter Kerr*

The trouble is; we all own New Zealand’s agricultural story.

That is, the huge collective effort that went into figuring out, developing and improving the soil, pasture and plant/animal interaction that is our pastoral method: is part of our collective birthright.

Unfortunately, NZ Inc has never (and as such never could) apply for a worldwide patent for the knowledge.

There’s none of it that’s uniquely identifiable.

If, perhaps way back in the 1930s when some of the eminent scientists of the day were working up their theories of how to grow grass/clover better, there may have been some form of IP we could’ve called ‘ours’. That horse has well and truly bolted these days – indeed, there’s mid-Western American universities who would attempt to claim the mantle.

However, no one has ever claimed the STORY.

No one has ever said, ‘well, we work with rather than against nature, seasonally’.

If you want a comparison, it is much like the way the Seregenti ‘works’; with animals grazing then moving on to new, fresh pastures in a circular pattern that is probably as old as the time we’ve been walking upright.

To mix metaphors, this method of growing, grazing, resting pasture is a globally unstaked claim.

By that token, we, NZ Inc can and should nab it.

What we’d be laying claim to is responsible pastoralism – and for want of a title/name/brand, I’m proposing we call it pasture Harmonies (otherwise we’d spend all our time debating what to call it).

I’m sure there would be a bit of a furore if we did – but so?

(The only bad publicity is no publicity).

From a big-picture point of view for NZ Inc, and particularly the companies and farmers with a financial vested interest in agriculture, naming our story would provide the missing glue, the rationale to allow us to work together when it best suits.

Because one of our main challenges, identified in a host of reports over the past 30 years, is there is no NZ Inc strategic vision.

That’s because there is nothing (yet) to consolidate around.

But the moment we named our agriculture’s comparative advantage, and allowed those who wished to participate (including partnering overseas farmers and companies) to use pH as a co-brand, co-story, is the instant we’d give ourselves a non-commodity future.

The moment we said, ‘this is ours’, and named the method, is when we’d change our offer to the world.

We’d also make more money. Or, is making money something we shouldn’t aspire to?


Peter Kerr is a writer, specialising in simplifying science and technology. He has an agricultural science and industry background. You can contact him here »

This is the nineth in a series about pasture Harmonies.

The first one Branding our pastoral advantage is here »

The second one We're the only protein production systems that can say VISIT is here »

The third one Taking it for granted is costing us is here »

The fourth one Thinking beyond the actuality of how we produce is here »

The fifth one For want of a name ... is here »

The sixth one The way you'd farm if you farmed yourself is here »

The seventh one, more than the sum of its parts is here »

The eighth one, Romance and reassurance is here »

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(The only bad publicity is no publicity).
Yes...exactly, thats why  100%Pure doesn't need to be 100%Pure to work!! theres no need to dilute the message, adding more 'Tag lines' won't work...Eg..Zespri, Cervena, Silere...Bloody hell enough already!!...K.I.S.S....(I'm guessing you know what that means?)
((no offence intended))

Hard to erase comments.

The Masai people of the Serengeti may have an objection... or two!
With the amount of poison sprayed and poured onto the land, Harmonious Pastoring is an inappropriate moniquer!
Maybe, if they could speak, the cows, we could get their opinion as to how "Harmonious" it really is. To begin with, the Masai's wealth is based on animals, so they do not get rid of the calfs to enjoy the milk; they share it with them and husband the herds for life. Literally!
Cow cockies in NZ are lucky their cows are so submissive. Mind you, it's not only them!
Cebu cattle are very agressive when they loose a calf. I know, I managed a beef farm in Venezuela for a few years, and was attacked by a mad cow due to loosing her calf. I leaped out of the way over the feeding trough, only to watch her ram the concrete structure, and then come back for more. We had to put her down. It was a sad day! Never mind my digression.
Good try, but no cigar, Sorry Peter