Farm­ers elect new dairy chair­man

South Waikato News - - Farming - GER­ALD PIDDOCK

For­mer Fed­er­ated Farm­ers Waikato pres­i­dent Chris Lewis has been elected the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s new na­tional dairy chair­man.

The dairy farmer from Pukea­tua, south of Hamil­ton, was voted into the po­si­tion by mem­bers at the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s na­tional con­fer­ence in Wellington on Wed­nes­day. He has served as na­tional vice-pres­i­dent in the dairy sec­tion for three years and re­places An­drew Hog­gard in the role.

He will join a new look board for the or­gan­i­sa­tion with Miles An­der­son re­plac­ing Rick Pow­drell as the new meat and fi­bre chair­man and Guy Wigley was reap­pointed as arable chair­man.

A new na­tional pres­i­dent and vice-pres­i­dent will be elected on June 22.

Look­ing ahead, Lewis said the dairy sec­tion was work­ing on a new dairy strat­egy, which would be re­leased in Oc­to­ber.

An­i­mal wel­fare would also be an is­sue with calv­ing due to be­gin shortly.

‘‘There will be an in­creased spot­light on that again I sus­pect, but hope­fully for the right rea­sons, show­ing that farm­ers are do­ing a great job.’’

Dairy farm­ing and its ef­fect on the en­vi­ron­ment and wa­ter qual­ity also looked to be hot topic for the com­ing elec­tion. Dairy farm­ers had to keep show­ing the work be­ing done to pro­tect and im­prove wa­ter­ways and ex­plain to the non-farm­ing sec­tor how this work im­proved wa­ter qual­ity.

‘‘But we also have to be re­al­is­tic. Farm­ers still have a long way to go, we’re on a jour­ney, but we have made re­ally good pro­gres­sion on that jour­ney. It’s about hav­ing that up­front, frank con­ver­sa­tion.’’

Be­ing on Fed­er­ated Farm­ers’ na­tional board means Lewis will be al­lo­cated roles as spokesman in other ar­eas once the board is fully elected and meets for the first time.

While the po­si­tions have yet to be made, Lewis said he was in­ter­ested in is­sues farm­ers faced around em­ploy­ment and en­sur­ing there were path­ways for peo­ple to get into farm­ing as a ca­reer as well as al­low­ing farm­ers to use im­mi­grants as staff if nec­es­sary.

Lewis said he would work closely with the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s sharemilk­ing sec­tion to make sure it re­mained the most cred­i­ble path to achieve farm own­er­ship in New Zealand.

SUP­PLIED

Chris Lewis is the new na­tional dairy chair­man for Fed­er­ated Farm­ers.

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