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Peter Kerr thinks we could use some strategic 'glue' to help get the best out of our best-practice pastoralism methods. Your view?

Rural News
Peter Kerr thinks we could use some strategic 'glue' to help get the best out of our best-practice pastoralism methods. Your view?

By Peter Kerr*

My contention is, by branding our pasture method and taking that through on products to the consumer, NZ Inc would become the global custodians for responsible pastoralism.

What would that mean? In one word, ‘glue’.

I argue that as nation of rugged individualists, the thing that has been missing for our farmers, our agritech, our marketers and our publics is a common sense of purpose.

Sure, there’s a sense that agriculture’s the backbone of the country’s economy and a worthy, if dull, image we take when we’re offshore.

It’s hardly riveting though.

And across a plethora of ag industry reports and plans and initiatives of the past 40 years, the constant message is that ‘we’ need a shared strategy.

The obvious point, the obvious underpinning where we share a story and method, has never been put forward as a strategic platform.

But why would this act as‘glue’.

Firstly, in a world in which knowledge is seen as having value, it would clearly indicate that there’s a heck of a lot of knowhow in how we’ve learned to convert sunshine, soil and fresh air into fantastic products.

Branding our method would also enable farming to be a lot less defensive, and provide an underpinning argument for farmers’ contribution to our country.

Not the least, it would be a separate component, alongside the electric fences, animal and plant genetics and other agritech components that we sell overseas.

That is, instead of giving away (and implying that it has no value) the knowledge component of responsible pastoralism, we’d have a means to charge for the knowhow.

And on that overseas note, we’d also have a platform on which to partner with others.

If we enable other (world) farmers to be part of our brand, and also make more money, not only could we profit, but we’d be clearly seen to be spreading and encouraging the adoption of responsible pastoralism.

All it takes is for us to name/brand what we do.

Maybe it is just too simple? Maybe we’d rather look for a complicated strategy that no one can explain in a sentence? Maybe a common sense view isn’t commonsense after all?

p.s. I envisage that individual farmers would sign in/up to an as yet-to-be-defined philosophy and statement of a sustainable responsible pastoralism. However, it probably would require no more than the current good practice, put down simply on one sheet of paper.


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 tenth 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 »

The ninth one, We all own our agricultural story ... that's the problem is here »

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We think the thing missing is rather more equity capital. - interest repayments should really be retained earnings and tax reciepts... (we would be the better for it)

Having lenders drive asset values when income is commodity price cycle driven is, we think, not the answer.


Rather than shared strategy, more an understanding of how to hold a position within a commodity market/supply chain/international export etc.... and an appreciation that too much can be borrowed and the compromised one can be.


We think that the condition of NZ "pasture methods" is not great, in the sense that very few folk actually write them down. Say take an engineering approach to thinking through the business. eg. How many of us are aligning our activities to the target operating model? How do you think Nestle works...


As for branding, the power of a brand is in the perception of it held by the customer, we thought.... you can do thing to influence the customer, but their perception is theirs... Refer to further reading ex Amazon...

Eg. We doubt that people would take produce ex the "pasture method", if the produce ws rubbish (say would you buy cheese from Bulgaria? - they use the pastoral method). i.e. the nature of the output, is more important than the method  branded/applied.


And exporting pastoralism - refer the to the NZ listed South America experience. Of the success? is when pastoralim becomes local. The Brazilian example (Wallace) is to local type/taste. We think NZ Inc in a box does not travel well. Rather you have to think through each local at the granular level. The result something that does not look like NZ in a box (ryegrass and all that r,s&B)...