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Tuesday 11 May 1999
Food and Fibre Minister John Luxton is urging farmers to support this year's survey to find out the number of livestock in the country.
"I am pleased to announce the allocation of $1.3 million in this year's Budget to redevelop New Zealand's agricultural statistics over the next two years."
"It's been three years since the last agriculture statistics survey and in that time there have been changes in the agricultural sector including two severe droughts. It is critical that we have up-to-date and accurate statistics from both an industry and public policy point of view."
"For instance, there has been an increase in dairying in the South Island but we don't have official data to back up the actual numbers. Likewise the meat industry needs to know livestock numbers in order to plan for future capacity at processing plants and the information is also essential for the transport sector including shipping."
Mr Luxton said the Government needs this information for both its domestic forecasting work and for international credibility.
"It is important that we are able to report comprehensive sector statistics to back our arguments in support of free trade as well as our commitment to greenhouse gas targets."
"Farmers should receive questionnaires early in July 1999 to coincide with the end of the farming year. Most farmers close their books at June 30 and we want this survey to reflect the level of their livestock at that time. It's a straightforward and simpler two page version of the previous agriculture statistics forms and in most cases it should take no longer then ten minutes to fill out."
"I encourage all farmers to put aside a few minutes to participate in this valuable exercise. The information will be collated for the benefit of farmers and the country as a whole,"Mr Luxton concluded. Full details will be announced in the Budget on 20 May.