Dairy’s ‘Can Do’ Attitude To Environment & Economy

NEW ZEALAND - Two major announcements have underlined how dairy farming is delivering economically and environmentally for all New Zealanders.
calendar icon 13 December 2011
clock icon 2 minute read

“You can’t go past a potential NZ$300 million boost if Fonterra Cooperative Group’s latest lift in the milksolids forecast sticks,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy chairperson.

“It’s not a Christmas gift yet because there’s a lot of milk still to go into our vats, but if it does hold up, it represents a big boost for every New Zealander and the taxman. It also provides additional resources for farmers to invest back into the farm environment.

“Our investment is paying off according to the latest Dairying and the Clean Streams Accord report for 2010/11. If we look at significant non-compliance, the stuff that pollutes water, then things are definitely on the improve.

“We know the regions that have gone backwards so in addition to DairyNZ’s work, Fonterra has its Every Farm Every Year programme for shareholders. The reality for some has been heroic levels of rainfall but this tells us that some farmers need to get the right kit in place.

“Infringement notices are another indicator for whether things are getting better and these were down 13 per cent nationally. Despite a spike in Southland, we are definitely heading in the right direction.

“Just imagine what road safety would be like if we had 69 per cent full compliance with every road rule. Dairy farmers are often in the gun for what we get wrong, but there’s a heck of a lot of evidence that farmers are getting more things right.

“Like any journey there are pot holes. A separate Ministry of Agriculture & Forestry (MAF) study into stock exclusion has found a lower level of compliance than what’s in Dairying and the Clean Streams.

“If you look closely at that report you can pick holes in it, but to me, it also sends a clear message to get our respective farms in order.

“The clock is ticking because in 18-months time, stock exclusion from water will be a condition of supplying Fonterra. With a successor to the Clean Streams Accord on the way you can be guaranteed there will be more verification than you can shake a stick at.

“These all indicate a dairy industry that is prepared to front foot things. There’s a genuine ‘can do’ attitude towards the environment and the economy equally,” Mr Leferink concluded.

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