This post also runs at pasture Harmonies.
The trouble is; we all own New Zealand’s agricultural story.
That is, the huge collective effort that went into figuring out, developing and improving the soil, pasture and plant/animal interaction that is our pastoral method: is part of our collective birthright.
Unfortunately, NZ Inc has never (and as such never could) apply for a worldwide patent for the knowledge. There’s none of it that’s uniquely identifiable. If, perhaps way back in the 1930s when some of the eminent scientists of the day were working up their theories of how to grow grass/clover better, there may have been some form of IP we could’ve called ‘ours’.
That horse has well and truly bolted these days – indeed, there’s mid-Western American universities who would attempt to claim the mantle.
However, no one has ever claimed the STORY.
No one has ever said, ‘well, we work with rather than against nature, seasonally’. If you want a comparison, it is much like the way the Seregenti ‘works’; with animals grazing then moving on to new, fresh pastures in a circular pattern that is probably as old as the time we’ve been walking upright.
To mix metaphors, this method of growing, grazing, resting pasture is a globally unstaked claim.
By that token, we, NZ Inc can and should nab it. What we’d be laying claim to is responsible pastoralism – and for want of a title/name/brand, I’m proposing we call it pasture Harmonies (otherwise we’d spend all our time debating what to call it).
I’m sure there would be a bit of a furore if we did – but so? (The only bad publicity is no publicity).
From a big-picture point of view for NZ Inc, and particularly the companies and farmers with a financial vested interest in agriculture, naming our story would provide the missing glue, the rationale to allow us to work together when it best suits.
Because one of our main challenges, identified in a host of reports over the past 30 years, is there is no NZ Inc strategic vision.
That’s because there is nothing (yet) to consolidate around.
But the moment we named our agriculture’s comparative advantage, and allowed those who wished to participate (including partnering overseas farmers and companies) to use pH as a co-brand, co-story, is the instant we’d give ourselves a non-commodity future.
The moment we said, ‘this is ours’, and named the method, is when we’d change our offer to the world.
We’d also make more money.
Or, is making money something we shouldn’t aspire to?