Recognising the importance of keeping in touch with the foundation of its business, one Southland meat processor has brought the boardroom to the farm.
On February 7, Blue Sky Meats held a Board of Directors meeting in a woolshed on Melrose Station near Clinton.
Blue Sky Meats CEO Todd Grave said the decision to hold the meeting on Melrose Station came from the company’s commitment to sustaining valued relationships and making sure its farmers knew they were an integral part of the Blue Sky process.
“We have these meetings every month and we thought it would be beneficial for the board to get out and about and get that whole picture feel,” he said.
“As a smaller Southland-based processor, we are in an ideal position to bridge that gap between the corporate and livestock procurement parts of our business.”
Melrose Station is a 2813ha rolling hill country farm. It has 20,000 sheep and beef stock units, run by the Wilson family, and employs a range of progressive farming practices.
Long-time Blue Sky Meats shareholders and one of the company’s largest suppliers, Peter and Joy Wilson have been farming the land since 1995, along with their son Johnny and daughter-in-law Emily.
“We’ve been with Blue Sky for a long time, so when they asked us about having their meeting out here we thought ‘why not’ – it’s a bit of a lark,” Peter said.
Having worked with the company for so many years, Peter said he recognised the importance of those valuable relationships between the farmer and the processor.
“The stock is quite literally our livelihood so as farmers, we need to make sure who we’re working with are giving us the best returns.
“I think the fact that we’ve been working with Blue Sky for more than 15 years speaks for itself,” he said.
Grave said it was great for the board to get back to the grassroots of the company.
“It really helps to reinforce the importance of looking at the whole supply chain so everyone can understand where they fit in along the Blue Sky process, from the farm to the boardroom. And sometimes the boardroom’s on the farm,” Grave said.
Now more than a year into the Blue Sky Meats strategic plan, Grave said the results were promising.
“All of our major projects are exceeding targets, and that’s down to everyone at Blue Sky and our wonderful farmer suppliers.
“Along with positive market conditions, that has put us in a solid position and for the nine months of our current financial year, we are significantly up on last year and budget,” he said.
Chairman Scott O’Donnell said the Melrose Station meeting had been good fun, and it was encouraging to see the company’s strategic plan taking off in various areas of business.
“I’m pleased with how we’ve tracked over the past few months, and we’re in a good position for the upcoming quarter,” he said.