Programme start: June 2015
Length: 7 years
PGP funding: $7.392 million
Industry funding: $7.992 million
Crown funding paid out to programme for work done to September 2022: $7.049 million
Commercial partners: Deer Industry New Zealand, New Zealand Deer Farmers Association, Alliance Group, Duncan New Zealand Ltd, Firstlight Foods, Mountain River Venison and Silver Fern Farms.
Estimated potential economic benefits to NZ: The programme aims to deliver economic benefits of up to $56 million a year in additional industry revenue by 2022.
New Zealand's venison industry very much relies on markets where demand is seasonal, and not in sync with our venison supply.
On farm, there is a need to integrate new technologies and processes into farming practices to improve productivity and better respond to market demands.
This programme brings together producers, processors and marketers – who together represent 95% of the industry. The programme will work to position New Zealand venison as a premium non-seasonal meat in new markets. Participants will also help producers deliver what consumers demand, when they want it, by adopting new systems and technologies.
Market research will be done to better understand what motivates customers to buy premium red meat. This will inform a national farming quality assurance scheme, and production and processing standards. The collaborative approach by processing and marketing companies will allow for the development and positioning of common brand values for New Zealand venison in new markets.
Through technology packaging and knowledge sharing, venison producers will be able to access the information and expertise necessary to lift on-farm performance and respond to consumer demands.
As a result of this programme, the venison industry will see collaboration at all levels of the value chain to deliver greater productivity and profitability in the future.
Outcomes to date
- Implementation of the single standard for farm quality assurance for deer farming, which has been integrated into the Red Meat Profit Partnership Farm Assurance Programme, and is a requirement to supply deer for the Cervena programme.
- Market trials in Europe have resulted in shifting sales of frozen product to chilled product, which achieves a price premium of $3,000 per tonne on average, by selling it during the northern hemisphere Summer.
- 26 Advance Parties – groups that are built on the principle of farmers being able to influence and motivate other farmers to make practice change, have been established, with over 240 deer farmers involved. A survey conducted in 2016 of Advance Party members found that participation was having a significant influence on making positive behaviour change decisions – 90% of respondents who had been involved for more than one year said they had made changes to their farming operations, compared to 48% for those involved for less than a year.
- 31 Deer Facts – publications about farming best practice, have now been produced and continue to be well received by farmers with deer and others with interests in the deer industry.
- A number of information resources and decision support tools developed and distributed to farmers, including the recent release of the Code of Practice for Environmental Management.
Achievements for the 2018-19 financial year
- Continued collaborative market development activity undertaken by 3 companies and their importing partners in Europe under the Cervena™ brand.
- New production standard for Cervena introduced from 1 January 2019 whereby deer must not be fed products containing GMO plant material.
- National statistics record increase in deer herd numbers, increased fawning rates and improved carcass weights.
- Positive uptake in the number of Deer Industry Environment Groups with 12 now in formation, where farmers are working together to improve their environmental management.
- Workshops For Rural Professionals – 5 workshops were held to help train and share information with rural service providers for the deer sector. Topics included environmental management, deer nutrition and genetic selection.
- 27 Advanced Party groups regularly meeting, with around 350 deer farmers actively participating.
- The industry achieved significant increases in the value of exports to China as the activity to target the western restaurant sector in Tier One cities continued.
- A prototype venison snack bar is in development, with an agreement among New Zealand venison marketing companies to explore a shared path to market.