Taupo, New Zealand
The International Beef Alliance (IBA) is comprised of Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Paraguay and the United States, which represents 46% of global beef cattle production and 63% of global beef exports. This year, the organization met in Taupo, New Zealand, this beautiful country provided a picturesque agricultural backdrop for the conference. The conference was kicked off on Sunday with introduction presentations by the eight Young Leaders from Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and the United States.
On Monday, the Young Leaders met to present their findings on the special topic: How the IBA can connect with ‘Millennials’ to gain support for the Alliance. The team split into the focus groups for animal welfare, sustainability and beef attributes. The group then reconvened to put together a group presentation to be delivered during the general session. The afternoon was followed with a fishing trip on Lake Taupo and official welcome by the Maori tribe.
Tuesday was the first day of local farm visits which began at Glen Emmerth Farms owned by Mike and Sharon Barton. The couple spearheaded the environmentally sustainable brand ‘Taupo Beef’, whose demand is currently exceeding its supply.
Along with other farmers in the Lake Taupo catchment (watershed), the farm is also home to a research laboratory studying the total nitrogen output of the operation. The second tour of the day included the Moerangi and Oraukura Station, managed by Barry and Celia Pope. The operation is focused on the integration of sheep and beef at elevations as high as 880m above sea level. We were fortunate to be present during the shearing of the flock. The tour of the woolshed in high production was a fantastic opportunity for the large group of beef producers.
On Wednesday, the group was hosted by John and Catherine Ford at the Highlands Station. The operation focuses on traceability and dairy beef production which sources bull calves from dairy operations to raise as bull beef. The afternoon included a panel discussion on the Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP) on three key beef and lamb industry initiatives: RMPP, “New Zealand Story”, and New Zealand Farm Assurance Programme.
Day one of the general session gave the Young Leaders the opportunity to observe the Delegate presentations from each country and updates on topics including Non-Tariff Barriers, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Global Round Table for Sustainable Beef. Day two of the general session gave the Young Leaders the opportunity to present their findings on the special topic to the Delegates, and was followed by a round of questions. The conference was closed with a delicious, traditionally prepared Maori meal known as a “Hangi” in which beef, lamb and vegetables are placed on hot stones and broiled underground for several hours.
The IBA conference was a tremendous opportunity to network with international delegates. It was a privilege to attend the International Beef Alliance conference on behalf of the Cattlemen’s Young Leader program alongside the other Canadian Delegates. This conference was a truly memorable experience!