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King chosen for winter grazing advisory group

MOTU farmer Pania King has been appointed to the Government’s new task force for winter grazing.

The group will respond to animal welfare issues associated with winter grazing.

Mrs King and husband Eugene own and farm Kiriroa Station at Motu, and in May the couple received the Ahuwhenua Trophy for excellence in Maori sheep and beef farming.

Mrs King will be one of 10 members on the task force.

The group’s other members are independent chair Dr John Hellstrom, ONZM; Dr Arnja Dale, chief scientific adviser, SPCA; Dr Helen Beattie, chief veterinary officer, New Zealand Veterinary Association; Dr Stephen Hopkinson, dairy cattle vet, New Zealand Veterinary Association; Angus Robson, environment campaigner; Dr Ross Monaghan, senior scientist, AgResearch; Elaine Cook, DairyNZ; Dave Harrison, Beef and Lamb New Zealand; and Ewen Mathieson, dairy farmer, Southland.

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said: “My expectation of this group is to do a stocktake of the multiple initiatives that are already under way to promote good winter grazing practices and identify why these are not currently working for all.

“Then we need to come up with actions as to how we can get farmers where they should be.

“The task force will draw on advice and expertise from various groups and individuals across the country who can inform and challenge the task force’s thinking.”

Mrs King said she realised it was going to be an important job.

“And it’s important to have a beef and lamb representative on the task force.

“I got a message from the minister at the weekend about being part of it and decided that it was something I wanted to support.

“It will be good to share my knowledge and be part of the team.”

Mrs King flies to Wellington on Friday for the first task force meeting.

The group will provide an initial report back to the Minister by the end of August and will work on a plan of action by the end of September?.

APPOINTED: Motu sheep and beef farmer Pania King has been appointed to the Government’s new task force for winter grazing. She is pictured with husband Eugene during an open day on their farm, Kiriroa Station, as part of this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy competition, which they won. File picture