Beef + Lamb NZ - Update on Agricultural Industry Essential Services

COVID-19: Tuesday 24 March: Update on Agricultural Industry Essential Services  

Joint update from Beef + Lamb New Zealand and the Meat Industry Association  

We want to update you on the scope of agricultural business activities and services that have so far been deemed “essential” and can continue to operate after midnight on Wednesday 25 March, when the country moves to Alert level 4.  

We also outline information on who needs to register and how, and some of the implications of the new processes for the supply chain.  You need to register by 5pm Friday 27 March if you meet the criteria below.    

This is an incredibly fluid situation There are still likely to be more questions, but this information will provide some certainty and clarity to farmers and the processor and exporter sector.  

What we know about essential services


  • The following is a summary of the key information: 



Processing and exporting companies


  • The companies are committed to doing what they can to keep plants operating. 
  • The processing companies are collaborating on an industry standard that will enable them to operate and help expedite the registration process.  
  • The companies are aware of the pressures on farmers in parts of the country with drought conditions and need to get stock off farms.  This is also the peak time of the year for processing.


We would like to acknowledge the hard work from MPI today to provide further clarity and information. 

It is vitally important we play our part in stamping out the spread of this virus.  

As a sector we are privileged to have the support and trust of the government to get on and do our jobs. This is because of the critical role we play in meeting the nutritional needs of New Zealanders and importance to New Zealand’s economic viability from our exports.   

This is a challenging period for farmers, processors and exporters, but we are a world leading industry and our leadership in New Zealand is required right now, let’s pull together to help the country’s response to the COVID-19 situation. 




Sam McIvor

CEO, Beef + Lamb New Zealand


Tim Ritchie

CEO, Meat Industry Association



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