New Dairynz strategy better for all involved
Arefreshed DairyNZ strategy, due for release in July, will balance being competitive with environmental responsibility, Federated Farmers dairy chairman Willy Leferink says.
‘‘It’s very important or New Zealand will say one day ‘Hey, you won’t get more land for dairying’,’’ he told the Primary Industry Summit.
The strategy ‘‘refresh’’ came about when the Ecological Foundation, Greens, and Greenpeace had ‘‘put our nose right into where it hurt the most; they told us we were putting poo in the creek’’. That was a waste. ‘‘Instead of putting effluent in the creek you put it on your paddock. You get free nutrients and you grow more grass.’’
That attitude had now been reflected in the new strategy, which focused on actions under Competitive and Responsible.
Profitable dairy farming headed the ‘‘competitive’’ list.
‘‘If you don’t make money you can’t take green measures.’’
The key was to keep costs under control.
This had the potential to make better use of nutrients to grow better feed that lifts cow production, leading to fewer cows needed.
‘‘We have a high employee turnover. I’m not proud of it,’’ he said. ‘‘If you stay too long on a farm it’s deemed you do not want to progress.’’
The South Island was carrying a legacy of ‘‘ mum and dad’’ settlers from the North Island who were not used to employing staff.
The Land and Water Forum’s collaborative agreements had shown the way for collaboration among all sectors of a community.
‘‘ It’s good for business; an animal you don’t look after doesn’t look after you.’’
Mr Leferink said dairying faced restrictions.
‘‘ We can’t just expand where we like. Some communities had made it clear enough is enough.’’
‘‘Costs have gone up, the Kiwi dollar is a massive sea anchor, but we are making headway. We’ve learnt that price volatility is actually good for us because it brings opportunities.’’