Big guns roll out for dairy­ing con­fer­ence

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery -

Dis­cus­sion on the dairy in­dus­try’s com­pet­i­tive­ness chal­lenges will be front and cen­tre when key in­flu­encers and ex­perts, in­clud­ing Min­is­ter for Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Steven Joyce, front farm­ers at DairyNZ’s Farm­ers’ Fo­rum on May 7 and 8 in Hamil­ton.

DairyNZ chief ex­ec­u­tive Tim Mackle said the bi­en­nial event will this year fo­cus on mar­ket is­sues out­side the farm gate and on how dairy farm­ing can be com­pet­i­tive and re­spon­si­ble in a chang­ing world.

Day one key­note speak­ers in­clude Fon­terra chair­man John Wil­son, Re­serve Bank gover­nor Graeme Wheeler and McDon­ald’s Cor­po­ra­tion’s Lisa Isaacs. Day two’s key­note speaker is Min­is­ter for Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment, Steven Joyce.

‘‘There are a num­ber of global and do­mes­tic chal­lenges fac­ing farm­ers in the near fu­ture, so this year we’ll be dis­cussing our com­pet­i­tive edge as an in­dus­try, as well as giv­ing some prac­ti­cal on-farm ad­vice,’’ said Mackle.

‘‘DairyNZ’s gen­eral man­ager for de­vel­op­ment and ex­ten­sion, David McCall, went on a factfind­ing trip to the United States last year. He’ll be talk­ing on how the US is our big­gest com­peti­tor in ex­port dairy mar­kets.’’

The two-day fo­rum at Hamil­ton’s Mys­tery Creek Events Cen­tre is ex­pected to at­tract more than 800 farm­ers, and is free to levy-pay­ing farm­ers and their staff.

This year the fo­rum of­fers a chance for farm­ers to cast their vote on­site in the milk­solids levy ref­er­en­dum. The levy vote hap­pens ev­ery six years and farm­ers are be­ing urged to have their say in May on whether to con­tinue the levy on milk­solids to fund in­dus­try re­search and de­vel­op­ment and a range of other ac­tiv­i­ties.

‘‘We’ll be en­cour­ag­ing farm­ers to take the op­por­tu­nity to vote on­site and mak­ing it easy for them to do so,’’ he said.

‘‘The fo­rum will also share the re­sults of our lat­est sci­en­tific work to help farm­ers see and dis­cover new ideas, tools and tech­niques to man­age risks to their busi­ness.’’

Day two in­cludes a farmer panel dis­cussing what they learnt from their ex­pe­ri­ences as re­gional fo­cus farms in North­land, Hau­raki and Bay of Plenty.

Across the two days, farm­ers can choose from 12 work­shops.

‘‘The work­shop topics range from get­ting in­volved in de­ci­sion-mak­ing on en­vi­ron­men­tal con­trols and how to strengthen the farm busi­ness, right through to au­to­matic milk­ing, how to grow great teams and suc­ceed with high in­put farm sys­tems,’’ said Mackle.

The DairyNZ Farm­ers’ Fo­rum is free to levy pay­ing dairy farm­ers and their staff.

The fee for oth­ers is $100 for one day and $175 for two. Reg­is­tra­tion is es­sen­tial prior to the event.

To view the full pro­gramme or reg­is­ter, visit farm­ers­fo­rum.

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