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Farmer slams AgResearch proposal
In disbelief: Lora
Gorge deer farmer
Bill Taylor is
the potential loss of
Research Group to
Deer country: Deer on Landcorp's Stuart Farm at Te Anau. AgResearch works with a lot of
herds in the Te Anau Basin, former AgResearch Invermay director Jock Allison said.
Moving Invermay deer research group to Lincoln would hit Southland hard
By DIANE BISHOP
A leading Southland deer farmer is upset
over AgResearch's proposals to shift its
Invermay Deer Research Group to Lincoln.
New Zealand Deer Farmers Association
former president Bill Taylor said to have a
research team and deer herd split up would
be a huge loss to the deer farming industry
in the lower South Island.
''It defies belief,'' he said.
Mr Taylor said there was no room for
Invermay's 1400 deer stock units at Lincoln
and no hill country existed at that location
which meant research work could not be
He believed AgResearch's plans to central-
ise its research on two large campuses,
Lincoln and Palmerston North, would be to
the detriment of New Zealand's primary
''I believe this is political -- it's about
strengthening Lincoln University's pos-
ition,'' he said.
''Invermay is an excellent facility and we
need to retain it.''
Mr Taylor, who farms deer at Lora Gorge,
near Winton, said he had expressed his
concerns to his local MPs and urged other
deer farmers to do the same.
''This decision looks like it's going to be
made without producer input.''
A letter has also been sent to deer farmers
outlining the concerns of former
AgResearch Invermay director Jock All-
ison, Dr Ken Drew, who led the deer
research programme from 1978 to 2003 and
Professor Frank Griffin who has collabor-
ated with research scientists for years.
The trio wanted deer farmers to indicate
their preference for the AgResearch
programme at Invermay or Lincoln to their
local MP, Economic Development Minister
Steven Joyce, Minister of Agriculture
Nathan Guy or to Prime Minister John
The letter states that Invermay deer
research staff worked with a lot of
commercial herds in Otago and Southland
which could not be easily reached from any
''A lot of the herds AgResearch work with
are around Te Anau,'' Dr Allison said.
The Invermay deer programme had led the
development of the New Zealand deer
industry since 1978 and was recognised as
world-leading with several international
deer conferences being held at Invermay.
Central to the programme had been the
close co-operation with Otago University in
the animal health and genomics program-
The trio said AgResearch had contributed
about $1 million five years ago to establish
the ongoing chair in genomics and
''It seems schizophrenic behaviour to now
remove all of the capability to co-operate
with Otago in that area which also includes
most of the $17 million investment in the
new building at Invermay.''
Dr Allison said there had been ''strong and
concerted'' feedback to retain the
research programme at Invermay.
''I haven't had any deer farmers that
disagree with me,'' he said.
New Zealand Deer Farmers Associ-
ation national executive member
John Somerville said he was ''not
impressed at all'' and believed a lot
of damage would be done fairly
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